SA 048: Dr. John Sullivan on Why The Brain Always Wins, and the Importance of P.R.O.C.E.S.S.

Dr John Sullivan brain always wins

In this episode, I interview clinical sport psychologist and applied sports scientist Dr. John Sullivan. We discuss his book, The Brain Always Wins, about the 7 components of what it takes to have successful and ongoing brain health.  

Guest Bio:

Dr. John P. Sullivan is the founder and CEO of Clinical & Sports Consulting Services.  He is a Clinical Sport Psychologist and Applied Sport Scientist for Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, and within the professional ranks of the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLS, Olympics, and the Elite Performers of Military.  He has worked in the NFL for 13 years coordinating clinical care, human performance technology, and facilitating the league’s Rookie Success Program.  He is the Assistant Director of the South County Sports Medicine/Sports Performance Concussion Clinic in Wakefield, Rhode Island.  Dr. Sullivan has worked as a mental health professional for nineteen years and provided professional services in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, college counseling centers, and private practice.  He is a licensed psychologist and well-rounded clinician/practitioner, having served children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients.

Dr. Sullivan is a thought leader who has provided services for a broad variety of athletes, and has served as a consultant, practitioner, lecturer, and researcher in the area of Sport Psychology both domestically and internationally. He is an active member of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the Big East Conference Sports Medicine Society, and a frequent collaborator with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regarding education initiatives and provides expert oversight.  Dr. Sullivan serves on several scientific advisory boards for developing technology companies in the areas of sport and well-being.


Some Questions We Ask:

  • Why did he write the book, The Brain Always Wins?
  • Can someone influence their emotion, or change their potential emotion, if they have optimized for their physical training, their rest and recovery and their nutrition, or does the emotion just trump anything that we do?
  • Is there science that shows that someone can be clutch? And if so, how does that happen?
    • High performers in every environment manage emotions.

  • One of the things that’s always brought up in sports and business is that sports is 90% mental or your approach to work is 90% mental. Does research support this, or is it some random number that’s thrown out there?  
  • 2 to 3 books that have most influenced him that he would recommend to the audience?

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • The 7 components of what it takes to have successful brain health: P.R.O.C.E.S.S.
    • We are wired to rest, and through rest, essential things happen.

    • We feel before we think… Our feelings are part of our decision-making process and that management of them makes us much higher performers.

  • The difference between the mind and the brain and why it’s important
  • Key takeaways:
    • Everything that you do serves your brain.

    • Rest and recovery is an underutilized skill in our culture that stops us, a lot of times, from achieving the things we want to do.

    • Performance and health are not two separate things.

    • We are wired to connect.  


Dr. Sullivan’s Websites:

Co-author Chris Parker’s Website:

Book: The Brain Always Wins: Developing Successful Mind Management By Dr. John Sullivan and Chris Parker


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