Episode 154

Prepare to Win with Andrew Sullivan | Win the Day® podcast
September 19, 2023
Today's guest is Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator, Andrew Sullivan, a 17-year Navy SEAL (DEVGRU) and founder of the Community First Project.
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In this episode of Win the Day:

If you’re serious about winning, you need to be even more serious about your preparation. After all, it’s the work behind the scenes that makes elite performance poetic to watch. 

Today, we’re joined by one of the most well-trained individuals on the planet, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator, Andrew Sullivan.

After watching the events of 11th September 2001 unfold, Andrew enlisted in the Navy, completed BUD/S training, and became a Navy SEAL. After six years at SEAL Team Two, he was selected to screen for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), also known as “DEVGRU,” where he spent the remainder of his time in service.

In an 11-year stint at the NSWDG, Andrew served as Team Leader for a 24-man counter-terrorism unit that conducted numerous missions pursuing high-value targets and conducting hostage rescue operations worldwide. He medically retired from the US military in 2020 after nearly two decades of service in the Special Operations community.

Andrew has been awarded the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals with combat valor, the Purple Heart Medal, and numerous other joint and individual commendations. In addition, he holds a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from the University of Charleston, West Virginia. 

Following his time in service, Andrew started BlueForce Strategic Action Group, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that provides tactical, security, and leadership consulting to the U.S. Department of Defense and various law enforcement agencies. Some of the organizations and associations Andrew has worked with, and consulted to, include: the New York Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; Air Force Special Operations; and Naval Special Warfare.

In 2021, Andrew founded the Community First Project, a nonprofit organization designed to improve community safety by providing much-needed, no-cost training to police officers. The Community First Project delivers comprehensive, up-to-date tactical and operational training that allows officers to serve, protect, and survive – and keep our communities safe.

In this episode:

  • Andrew’s career as a Special Forces operator and the work he’s doing today
  • The importance of the right training – and the right team – in every mission you’re on
  • What mindset you need to perform under pressure; and
  • How to build resilience when you’re faced with pain and loss.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Andrew Sullivan!


0:16 Who is Andrew Sullivan

2:07 Interview starts

3:02 Growing up and developing the dream to become a Navy SEAL

5:58 Attending Navy SEAL training (BUD/S)

7:55 What happens to people who fail Navy SEAL training

9:36 Take it one step at a time

11:02 Who is first to quit Navy SEAL training (BUD/S)

13:29 First deployment and combat mission

15:05 Keeping in touch with loved ones while on deployment

16:13 Finding joy in war zones

17:17 Only complain if you’re ready to solve the problem

19:28 How to prepare your body, mind, and spirit for violence

22:12 Expose yourself to war before you go to war

23:28 The value of teamwork in the Navy SEALs

26:45 Why are Navy SEALs so good

27:47 Difference between SEAL teams and Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU)

29:47 Change before you fail (DEVGRU mentality)

31:18 Anxiety and fear in DEVGRU

33:42 Do things that make you uncomfortable

34:59 Preferred theater of combat

36:39 Best phase of skill development

38:58 Mindset between first and last combat mission

43:03 Transition to civilian life

45:31 Why Andrew Sullivan is training law enforcement

49:03 Create the stress of war in training

51:44 What to do in an active shooter situation

55:38 Boston marathon bombing

57:44 Suicide in the military and law enforcement communities

1:00:09 How to help a loved one with mental health

1:02:19 The benefits of proper law enforcement training

1:05:49 The danger of comfort in repetition

1:10:24 Work with Community First Project and Boston Police Department

1:12:24 The gift of vulnerability

1:13:40 Affirmation

1:14:34 How to support the Community First Project

1:15:15 Rocket Round


Resources / links mentioned:

🎯 Download your FREE Win the Day action plan

⚡ Support the Community First Project

📷 Community First Project Instagram

🎬 Subscribe to Win the Day YouTube channel

💚 Give the Win the Day podcast a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts

🙏 Give the Win the Day podcast a 5-star rating on Spotify

💕 Win the Day Facebook group

📝 Win the Day newsletter [weekly LinkedIn exclusive]

Inspiring quotes in this episode:
  • “We're problem solvers. We come in and we always expect things to go wrong. If they go right, perfect. They never do, so we're prepared.” – Andrew Sullivan
  • “You never want to let failure be the reason that you change. You want to change ahead of failure – and be successful as much as possible.” – Andrew Sullivan
  • “Once you take the leap, the fear goes away and you're mission focused.” – Andrew Sullivan
  • “If you get too comfortable doing the same thing over and over, your situational awareness fails you. Usually that's when bad things happen.” – Andrew Sullivan
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