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How Do You Feel with Dr. Sean Sullivan

George Grombacher April 20, 2023

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How Do You Feel with Dr. Sean Sullivan

LifeBlood: We talked about being able to answer the question, “How do you feel,” the value in being able quickly shift your state of mind and perspective, why small amounts add up to big gains, and how to optimize your thinking for success, with Dr. Sean Sullivan, CEO of OnePerfect, a digital mental health and wellness platform.   

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Sean Sullivan

Dr. Sean Sullivan

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:01
One word for this George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong apparel product. Dr. Sean Sullivan. Sean, are you ready to do this?

Dr. Sean Sullivan 0:08
Let’s do it.

george grombacher 0:09
Let’s go. Doc, Shawn is the CEO of one perfect. It’s a digital mental health and wellness platform for organizations, helping their people to shift to their ideal states of mind quickly and easily. And Shawn, I believe you’re a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 0:27
Psychologist. Yep.

george grombacher 0:29
You are a clinical psychologist, excited to have you on tell us about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 0:37
Thank you, George. Well, nice to meet you can connect a little bit here? Yes. As you said, I’m, well, personal life. All right. That’s a surprise. I didn’t mention to you. I’m sitting here in the beach hut, where I live. And the reason for the beach hut actually is kind of interesting. Now that you asked, in the, the one perfect shift product that we’ll talk about a little bit today, you come into the product in your app, and you get your own beach hut. And so that was innovated here at this beach hut, which the background you’re looking at. And I always thought of beach hut as the best location to shift into a better state of mind anytime. And so that’s sort of my personal tie in to the maybe professional aspect of this. But yeah, I’m a clinical psychologist by training. I’ve been at this for a long time, and focused all my research for the first 20 years of my career and practice, on the application of technology to psychology. And since we’re sort of in a short form here, I’ll skip all the details and just get to the point, which is that I learned that tech, digital technologies for psychology really only work well if people use them, right. So you need to develop something that people like. And what we found is the most basic and extremely useful tool that you can provide someone with is a tool that guides them through shifting into a better state of mind in under 10 minutes, anytime. It’s five to 10 minutes, typically. So you identify, I’m feeling sad or lonely or frustrated or angry, or I can’t sleep or I’m unmotivated at work, open your app, you based on your history and your select your current selections, you get delivered a digital experience that guides you into a better state of mind in five to 10 minutes, anytime. And the shocking thing to me as a psychologist is that it works. We’ve seen a couple years of research and pilots with a partner in the University of California system led to a subscription from the university. And that was based on the fact that almost 90% of people after the experience report that they were able to shift into a better state of mind as defined by them. And so you might come in as three out of 10. And you end up as a seven or you come in as a five and end up as a 10. But really the the point here, all sort of joking aside is that if you can learn that skill set of shifting your state of mind when you need to, you have the foundation for really good mental health, because it means that no matter where you are at any moment on that scale, you’re able to shift to a better place. And therefore you’re better able to address and cope with whatever it is that you’re struggling with. And as I mentioned, if it’s lack of motivation, it’s you know, you we I think of it as your is bad to good or good to great. If you’re doing good. You may be you want to get to a performance state, if you’re doing bad poorly. You just want to get to a place where you can take that next step your day without feeling overwhelmed. So we’ll extend it answer there. But

george grombacher 3:57
that’s awesome. Thank you. Yeah, music to my ears, some of these. You want the thing to be useful, right? It’s like great, we can produce the most sophisticated tools in the world. But if they sit and gather dust, it is a waste of everybody’s time.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 4:16
That’s it. And that’s what you see in these often in psychology or health care products. They work in the lab where you you know you’re doing your your pilots and your research. And part of that is the people who are the subjects have agreed to complete the sequence of tasks. Well, that’s not the real world in the real world. We’re busy, we’re distracted. When we feel badly, we don’t want to do anything. That’s probably the biggest challenge is that when you’re not doing well, the last thing you want is someone to put something in your face and say here, this will make you feel better. And so this is something that meets you right where you are. If you can get yourself over that hurdle of recognizing, oh, this actually helps me when I need it. it, we’re seeing about 50% engagement by people who engage the first time they complete a shift, they will engage on a weekly basis, if they receive a couple shifts a week, about half of them are engaging at least weekly. And in you know, that’s that’s the average, so many of them are engaging very frequently. And what you’re seeing in the research around this stuff, is that these five minute experiences that guide you into different mind states, if you can, if you do it, for example, for 30 days, and the research is showing real brain changes that correlate with a better mental state. So it’s not just that it shifts you in that moment, if you can be consistent with it, it’s actually shifting your brain and body physiologically over time.

george grombacher 5:50

Dr. Sean Sullivan 5:52
That’s very exciting direction for for mental health, because we think of it usually, at least I do as a as a psychologist as an hour long therapy session or an hour long coaching session. And what we’re finding is that those have their place, and they have a lot of merit and a lot of value, especially if you’re really struggling emotionally. But in between those things, or in lieu of them, if you don’t need those things are incredibly valuable tools. Like in this case, I call it shifting, and shifts are the the you know, the tools, the five to 10 minute segments, in one perfect is where you can subscribe, get them for free and get your feet wet. I’m sure you are going to ask that. So I thought I’d share it.

george grombacher 6:36
Thank you for sharing. I 100% was. So I this is I think it’s really, really exciting. I think it’s funny that you said that you’re shocked that it worked. Because we’re so there’s so many different reasons to be surprised that that a simple intervention would be effective. But when he put it in the context of when I’m not feeling it, the last thing I want to do is, is do some kind of a heavy lift, I can go to my dopamine dispenser in my phone and and feel pretty, less bad. That way I can put something in my mouth or I can buy something online, versus going through some long exercise. But if I can, in five minutes or 10 minutes, go through this shift. And then it’s proven out that it’s helping with the neuroplasticity, or whatever that it’s actually doing. It’s actually helping long term, not just giving a quick fix, it is actually building upon my progress in getting me to a place where I’m more able to self regulate.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 7:47
That’s it. I mean, it’s it’s right on, and you hit it on the head to me too. I was shocked, as I said that this was working. I think that the biggest challenge ultimately is that getting yourself to do it when you need to. But what I find, I think the real, you know, shift for lack of a better word that occurs for each of us is that we recognize when we recognize that we are a couple minutes away from a better state of mind. Because we know either that internally, we’ve developed that skill set, and we can tap into it, which is what you learn as you practice. Or we know we can tap a button on that device you just pulled up in instead of getting a distraction away from the loneliness or sadness or whatever the current discomfort, is it because we know that in a couple of minutes, we’re going to feel a different way. That’s a better way. To me that was what got me personally, to say, Oh, why wouldn’t I lean into that when I’m feeling off, or as I said, you know, my clinical practice turned into a performance psychology practice in a lot of ways. So for some people, this is something that you would use, when you use the app, you can actually record your own shifts, so you get trained to kind of do it in your own voice. And so the example that I would use is I would train tennis players, so they have 90 minutes, 90 seconds, sorry in between changeovers. Listen to a shift, get yourself in the state of mind ready to perform, you know, go out back onto the court. And so that’s another version of this. But what you learned as a psychologist is that the process of change is the same whether you’re moving from bad to good or Good to Great, generally speaking, and so if you can learn that process, then you can learn to apply it you know, whatever that moment in your life that you get triggered is or, you know, you’re preparing to go do a talk like this or whatever it might be, get yourself where you need to get. And I love it. I think the future of this is beautiful. And actually would you mind if I talk about the future a little bit George before his time here. So I talked about the this digital experience you get on the app, it’s 24/7. Get a shift. It’s all digital. It’s all automated. We’re adding live shift therapists to that. So there’ll be a button though. You get Select a shift therapist who resonates with you, maybe their background resonates, maybe the issues that they really are good with resonates. You choose them in same thing, 510 minutes, that shift therapist is now guiding you through shift. And this is a based this addition is based on the research that suggests that live human interaction is a major sort of shifting event in and of itself, if you want to come into presence, and it’s not natural or easy for you, then connecting with someone who is present. And there is the fastest and most powerful way that we know of to do that. So we’re kind of combining forces here of technology and live human experience, having proven out that the technology piece works, now we’re bringing the real powerhouse, which is what I think of as the most powerful drug we know of other humans.

george grombacher 10:52
I think it makes all the sense in the world.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 10:54
If you want to become a shift therapist, that’s a possibility for anyone to that you don’t need psychology training for that, by the way, ice.

george grombacher 11:03
How aware are people of their state of mind? If I’m not accustomed to thinking about what I’m thinking about? Or I’m not a mindfulness practitioner? The regular folks out there who’ve never heard of this, how aware are we?

Dr. Sean Sullivan 11:19
I think it’s it’s just such a deep questions. Actually, George, part of the reason that we landed on the idea of calling this shifting is because the first step of getting someone to learn this is recognizing that there are different mind states, there are different states of mind, you’re in throughout the day. And so if you ask someone, for example, you know, how’s your emotional health, they might give you a general answer. And not recognizing that in the morning, they are not doing that, well. Their mind is foggy in the after lunch, they may be they get a little bit of a high and they have a state of mind that’s better. And when they’re off of work, maybe they cheer up even more. And so if to the degree I mean, just trying to answer your question in a in a constructive way to the degree that you’re able to connect with your state of mind as it vacillates throughout the day, which it does for all of us. You’re developing a really core foundational skill for being able to shift it strategically. So obviously, the answer your question is it’s depends on the person. But I think in general, we’re not real well educated in versed in the reality that our mind state really vacillates throughout our days in our lives.

george grombacher 12:40
Yeah, that sort of would have been my guess. And I fancied myself to be a pretty thoughtful person, and pretty mindful. And I’ve, I’ve always had some kind of a reminder, at one point, I used to carry a coin with me that, that said, attitude on one side and presence on the other side, that I always needed to have a great attitude and try to have a positive presence. And now I’ve got different chains that I wear with different things on them. And so it’s getting towards what it is that you’re doing. I’m trying to remind myself, I need to have a constructive attitude if I’m about to go do something difficult. So it strikes me that I do have an athletic background in tennis also. So I understand what you’re talking about sitting on the changeover and wanted to get my head rate, I see immense value in making this a scheduled activity just throughout the course of the day. And then obviously not obviously. But when I do catch myself being less than optimal in my thinking, than being able to use it.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 13:46
That’s awesome. Yeah, you know, to me, the the obvious example became when I would wake up overnight with stress or anxiety, and try to address my state of mind while you’re sort of half awake. And so if people want to think about well, what does that even mean state of mind, you know, maybe compare something overnight, where you’re half awake to like when you’re fully present and engaged. And think about there’s a whole spectrum in there about how you feel ultimately. So yeah, I totally appreciate that. We’re all trying to figure out strategies that work for for ourselves, I know people that have gotten tattoos, you know, that they look at. So this is the idea is that this is a trigger to get yourself into a state that’s more appropriate. And if we were to dig into this, I would start talking about how, you know, this connects us to our purpose. Ultimately, that’s what we want. We want to get connected to a feeling of meaning and purpose, to be able to take that next step along our path. So I love all that. And you know, as we talked about, that’s why I think both you and I have some surprising, yeah, five minutes, five minutes, we’ll get you to a better place. It’s a 90% of people will say that, and I love the idea that in terms have relative to your solutions that you’ve developed for yourself. What we do is say, you know, maybe before shipped, where are you at? And where are you at after, and just that framing is, is underlying? Well, we’re in different places in five minute increments.

george grombacher 15:17
I like to think about how it’s a superpower, to have the ability to obviously have no control what happens to me, but I do have control over how I think, feel and respond to the circumstances of my life. And myself included, so many of us squander that superpower, because we just, you know, we just sort of go with the flow and let life carry us around versus being proactive and having the having the intervention available to me in the form of your app, or scheduled using your your your app to be able to to be proactive about the way that I’m thinking and my frame of mind and my perspective. So I think it’s immensely powerful.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 16:00
Thanks so much. Yeah, we’re trying to get the organization’s we work with universities, and then also employers to put on or allow at least employees to put on their schedule, that time. So it, you know, they’re reminded to do that. In addition, you know, you get emails of shifts regularly and all that. But, yeah, I think that is a huge part of the challenge is getting yourself to create a routine around it and stick with it. We see that with meditation practices, very difficult for people to stay with it. For me, I mentioned the overnight is a great reminder, when I wake up first thing in the morning, it’s very helpful to start the day because things cascade from there. Yeah, I’m a I’m a big fan. It sounds like I’m preaching to the choir here,

george grombacher 16:44
day. For sure. I my professional field is, is getting people to take positive change in the world of personal finance. And so you talk about how in psychology, it’s hard to get people to change. Well, I can also assure you that in the world of personal finance, and diet and exercise and everything, yeah, call for people to

Dr. Sean Sullivan 17:05
stress comes up. It’s tough to do what you intended to.

george grombacher 17:10
Yeah. Quick, you and I were brainstorming about, about marketing I ideas for, for the company before we before we hit record, do you have or have you considered and I hate push notifications, but just sort of scheduling in where it were, it alerts you Hey, it’s, it’s it’s time to do a shift.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 17:34
Yeah, so on the app, you actually can accept notifications. And we haven’t taken deep dives into that. On the when you subscribe, you also get a couple shifts a week in your inbox. And that tends to be the ones that people really engage with, they see it, they have control, right, you can read it, you can click on a link and listen to it, you can click on a link and open the app and really personalize your experience that way. But yes, I love that. I love that concept. I think it makes so much sense to just say, Okay, here’s when I want to at least have the intention to do it. Even if I’m not always going to do it when I get that notification. I don’t know where you are with your technology life. But I don’t have any notifications coming on my phone anymore. I don’t use social media on it anymore. So yeah, whatever that best strategy is for an individual to be able to schedule it in. I would I would recommend and you know, I love that suggestion, I will try to provide as many options as possible. By the way, everyone George’s suggestion before it was called was it call it Fridays? Everything’s better on Friday. Everybody’s in a good mood on Fridays, every Wednesday at noon on Fridays. Yeah, just to close that loop. Thank

george grombacher 18:50
you. And I think that it makes a ton of sense to work to deliver your the app through employers, because we get so many benefits through our through our companies these days. And with more, with more companies recognizing the importance of wellness, I think that this is a a no brainer.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 19:11
Thank you. Thank you, George. Yeah. I have a piece of data in my head 48% of new benefits that employers are offering last year were mental health benefits. So employers are hyper aware of the need to support their employees. And to me this particular product fits because it’s five to 10 minutes, right? So you’re between a meeting, you’re taking a coffee break, this is a constructive way to actually continue with your day without interrupting it, but really enhancing it. So I like that I like I love the concept of students helping other students, right. So a student shift therapist could get chosen by another student at the same school who’s sort of familiar with that environment and the struggles there. And oftentimes this So much of this stuff is relational, right? So if you can connect with someone that you value, you’re going to change everything about how you feel. So there’s a lot of ways will the future, you know, it will develop I’m sure but organizations Yeah, let us know if you’re interested.

george grombacher 20:17
Exciting, was shot. Thank you so much for coming on, where can people learn more about it? Where can they take advantage if I’m an individual, and if I am a company.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 20:26
So I mentioned one perfect is a great place to go subscribe, you’ll start to get weekly shifts in your email inbox, and you’ll learn everything you need to from there, you can do a starter program or whatever you choose. And then at one is really for organizations to go to, to learn about the actually to get a free trial to test it for their pilot for their organization, or sign up for subscribe for a certain number of employees. So those are the two destinations both for, for consumer who wants to use it. And then for an organization or university who is interested in learning more.

george grombacher 21:04
Excellent. Well, if you enjoy as much as I did, showing your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, individuals, like me, go to one perfect and get on the email list and start receiving those shifts and putting them to work in your life organizations go to one and figure out if this is a good fit for your employee population and for your company. As Dr. Shawn talked about 48% of the new benefits are on mental health and we’re becoming acutely aware of the way that we’re struggling with mental health and the importance of it. So this is a from my perspective, a wonderful solution for that. So thanks again, John.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 21:46
Thank you, George. Great to meet you.

george grombacher 21:48
Likewise. And until next time, remember, do your part but doing your best and Happy Friday, everybody.

Dr. Sean Sullivan 21:55
Happy Friday. Thanks

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