The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Show Notes

We unpack the idea of story, how and why we tell ourselves the stories we do, and what we can do to tell ourselves better, more empowering stories.
  1. Establishing your “life’s work”, logging entries of life events, memories, and feelings
  2. How to use social media as an archive for looking back on our lives from an introspective perspective
  3. Acknowledging what you are good at, what you are ok at, and what you are not so good at, make the stories based on reality not on what’s been given (or told to you)
  4. The 5 Love Languages and how they relate to our state of mind when we’re telling ourselves how our stories are going
  5. How to recognize the signs when things are off, and you keep telling yourself the same negative things, over and over
  6. How to navigate media consumption and all the stories being shared online
  7. Being mindful of the source of stories and whether it is a dialogue or one-way communication
  8. Change is inevitable, growth is optional
  9. Gratituding (its a new word)
  10. Defining your micro-stories in place of relying on one big macro story
  11. Learning to build in flexibility and detours into your vision/story to prevent discouragement that leads to quitting
  12. Knowing the difference between the FACTS and the TRUTH
  13. Learning to tell stories from our scars, and not our wounds…
  14. How studying story and telling stories can teach you to tap into yours and make better connections between memories and events that have happened in your life
Dawn Fraser

A conversation with Dawn Fraser

From Movies, Commercials, and Your Family and Friends; they’re all telling you stories about themselves to either convince you of an idea or to control your world. We’re also doing this to ourselves, all, the time.

Our stories from an early age turn into the stories we continue to tell ourselves, sometimes our entire lives. We unpack the idea of story, how and why we tell ourselves the stories we do, and what we can do to tell ourselves better, more empowering stories.

Join Dawn Fraser and me as we travel down this rabbit hole; you may find yourself on the other side.

Resources Mentioned


Stories We Tell Ourselves – Dawn Fraser

Steven: [00:00:00] A lot of this is a selfish endeavor. I’ve been thinking about story from a, you know, being 36 years old, where am I in my life context. Also from a mental health perspective; the stories we tell ourselves, rumination, micro story, macro story. There’s so much I want to explore. So I’m really grateful that you decided to take this time.

So thank you for being here.

Dawn Fraser: [00:00:27] Of course. Well, since we met, I just sense the, you know, the connection and, it really seemed like you’re intentional about what you want to do and the voices that you want to bring to your platform and who you want to serve. So I’m really happy to set aside as much time as you need to get across whatever content you need and to like really make sure that this is a good interview.

Steven: [00:00:47] Excellent. Thank you.

Dawn Fraser: [00:00:48] Okay. Sounds good.

Steven: [00:00:49] Awesome. Cool. so we spoke before your interview and, we both shared some ideas on how we want to dive in. I took some of those bullets and mapped it out from internal, process to external. Because we have stories in our mind that we established from when we’re very young and as we get older and then we process those stories. And then I want to get to the point to where we overcome those stories and share those, differently. We master our power of telling those stories, both to ourselves and to other people.

So starting internally, something that I did recently with all this downtime was a life timeline. So I looked back on my whole life and I ma.. I made like a mind map. It was months and years and went through every Instagram post I ever did in Facebook and old journals. It’s really interesting to see your life on a piece of paper.

So looking at story and where someone is at in this moment, because that’s the only place they can really analyze from, have you ever done anything like looking back and digging into old memories and, how has that kind of gotten you to where you are today with story?

Dawn Fraser: [00:02:06] Yeah. Oh, that’s a great question.

And a really cool project that you actually took some time to, do that. I started, a couple of years ago, logging different memories and different points of times that I just kind of like were popping up for me. And actually I had adopted this from a fellow storyteller who, calls this Hallmark for Life.

And essentially what the process is, it’s very similar to what you were talking about, but it was essentially like looking at like just every single day, every single small encounter, every single big encounter. and actually just kind of like figuring out like; What these moments meant to me. And if they were significant, sometimes they were like a small change in attitude, a small change of perspective.

But when I started truly sharing my stories, about 10 years ago, I started going through this process of, actually logging in things that had happened from the past, as well as being a little bit more up-to-date in terms of keeping a journal of how I was feeling about certain things as they’re happening in real time.

But you know, I think it’s really cool that we also do have that power now with technology. If people have been using social media, if people have been using Instagram or Facebook to look back, you know, sometimes we don’t even have that choice cause we pop on the Facebook and it’s like 10 years ago today you were in New Zealand or whatever, that case might be, you know,

Steven: [00:03:36] Or eating spaghetti..

Dawn Fraser: [00:03:37] Spaghetti, and actually realize that you have teeth, you know, depending on how old you are. So, I think that it also helps to facilitate some of those memories where we’ve been, who we’ve become. But I definitely think that just logging those moments also helps us to tap into gratitude.

So I think that it’s a dual purpose. Then, then simply just like logging these moments. It’s actually helped to keep track of, where you are in life and to be appreciative of it.

Steven: [00:04:11] So the technology; gift and a curse, it can both remind you of too many memories from Ex, Ex’s, situations that you maybe should not keep tapping into, or it can be a good reminder to give you perspective to show you how far you’ve come, how different things are, if you could get through those bad days, which felt like they were going to last forever and now you’re in a much different place now, it helps you zoom out.

Dawn Fraser: [00:04:34] Absolutely. Absolutely. I remember seeing a post from an ex when we were traveling from about four years ago. And, if you would have asked me at that time, how I was feeling about it, I knew that things were rocky. Things were feeling rough things weren’t feeling great.

Now, when I look back on that post, I know that that’s where I was at that point in time. I know that that’s no longer where I’m at either personally with this person, professionally. So as long as I feel like I’ve overcome and I’ve looked internally and I’ve addressed some of my own stories.

I feel okay looking back at some of those posts, but I could imagine it being a challenge if I hadn’t quite healed from that breakup or, you know, what I’m saying?

Steven: [00:05:26] A hundred percent, it reminds me of what I want to get to later is wounds versus scars. So it’s, if the, wound heals over, you can look at something objectively.

If it still feels sticky, maybe it’s, open, maybe it hasn’t..

Dawn Fraser: [00:05:38] Yes. Right.

Steven: [00:05:40] Yes. Listening. We’re going to dive into that towards the end. so sticking within kind of an internal context, you did mention gratitude journaling. So I want to talk a little more about the stories we tell ourselves either from memory or trauma. Or something that someone has told us that we are.

What kind of advice would you give to someone who, you know, it’s in those micro moments when you do something bad and it’s just like, ah, yeah, I always do this wrong or I’m just not good at this. Or I can never do that. Like, those are stories; we may not realize it, but we’re beating ourselves down. What is your experience with that? And what’s a good way to kind of like reprogram?

Dawn Fraser: [00:06:20] Yeah. I, it’s, it’s really common for humans to do this to ourselves. We, tell ourselves, Oh, I can’t do this. Or, Oh, I’m so stupid, how did I do this again to myself?

And we actually don’t actually acknowledge what we’re good at or what our natural inclinations are. I, I have a tendency or I used to have a tendency to just beat myself up. About those, moments. And what I had to start to realize, and to shift was acknowledging that there are things that I’m really good at, there’s things that I could do better at, and there’s things that are, I’m probably never going to be wonderful at.

Right. For those things that I can improve upon that actually take some type of effort, like my relationships or like things like, people that I, that I care about and staying in contact. I think that there’s always a way to kind of step into a better version of ourselves by acknowledging our own shortcomings and also acknowledging our shortcomings.

So for example, I have, I have some friends when I, once I moved from New York city about a year and a half ago. I was really worried about staying in touch with my large network of friends because so many of them I met in person and moving just meant that I wasn’t gonna be able to see them in person as much as, as I did before.

And I was really worried about, you know, communication and being able to keep these people as part of my inner circle, because I’m not good at constantly being on social media or constantly writing or constantly texting people. And so, but I did realize that if this is a relationship that I cared about, this is, these are people that I still want to be able to build with, that I, I, could work on that skill of remaining in touch and knowing how these people wanted to be in touch..

Kind of leaning into this idea of the five love languages. Do you know about this?

Steven: [00:08:29] I do, please expand. Thank you girlfriend for introducing me to this, please expand.

Dawn Fraser: [00:08:35] Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m going to, it’s a little bit of a diversion and I’m going to bring it back to the point in just a second..So the Five Love languages are, are the different ways that people both expect to receive love and the way that you give love.

So there’s five different languages that, that I’m forgetting the author’s name right now, but to break down the ways that people typically want to receive love. And the way that people typically want to receive love, or either through words of affection, through you know, like saying I love you, you’re the best, you’re amazing. And you know, really positive words.

Some people need to receive love through gifts. So actually physically you know, give me a ring, give me a, give me a car, a..

Steven: [00:09:21] Material thing..

Dawn Fraser: [00:09:22] Give me a material thing, physical thing. Right? Exactly. Some people are connected to the acts of service. So, if you’re really like handy and you always are taken care of like stuff that’s around the house or really taking care of anything that I need to get done.

The fourth one is, quality time. so, being able to just really sit with somebody going on, those walks, spending those special moments with each other.

Steven: [00:09:52] So proximity, right. Being around..

Dawn Fraser: [00:09:54] Exactly, like exactly, Like proximity, not even necessarily having to say much, really

Steven: [00:10:00] Reading a book on each end of the couch, but you’re still together.

Dawn Fraser: [00:10:05] Exactly, and the fifth one..

Steven: [00:10:10] Did we say words of affirmation?

Dawn Fraser: [00:10:12] Words your affirmation. Yes. Oh, physical touch.

Thank you. Physical touch. Right? Physical touch. Which includes sex? You know, some people like it’s you know, if you want to show me that you love me, you need to touch me. You need to hug me. You need to give me all the goods you got in your trunk.

So what I realized and how this relates to your question, is when I was like leaving from New York, I realized that the way that I typically, expressed my love for my friends was to quality time, was actually like going to storytelling shows with them hanging out or just coming to their place, cooking a meal.

You know, and and, I, started asking them though, like how, do we still maintain this friendship? And it was through quality time, but also a lot of it, I realized for some of my friends were those, words with words of affirmations, that, I could actually still deliver through social media or through a quick, you know, a quick chat on, text or whatever that might be.

So I realized that one of the things that we tend to do as humans is feel like, okay, like I’m not good at doing something or I’m not really all that; my love language is, is, say physical touch, which isn’t necessarily. And so I expect people to like always address me in terms of like my needs, but I also realize that as we, grow as people, we can look and see how we can shift and what we can lean into that.

That makes us better people. It makes us wholer people and understand what other people in our community need, what we need. So it’s not a way of saying “I’m bad at this”. It’s a way of saying okay, “I’m going to work on this”. If it’s something that I can work on and if it’s something that I want to work on in order to improve my relationships or my connections with other people,

Steven: [00:12:15] I love that.

So what it feels like is; owning, honoring, acknowledging, being still in your faults. But, does that sound right? Yes. So that, question, I love to ask all the time in many different contexts, this is a new one. So how would you, tell someone, tell yourself what if they don’t even realize they’re doing it?

What if they’re saying these stories to themselves and feelings are real, our perspective is real to us, right? The illusion, it’s all real to us. What if they don’t even realize they’re doing it? How can someone kind of break that habit?

Dawn Fraser: [00:12:54] If they don’t realize that they’re telling themselves..?

Steven: [00:12:56] “I’m so bad at this and terrible, this is just who I am.”

If they keep kind of reliving those negative stories,

How can you unpack that?

Dawn Fraser: [00:13:06] I almost kind of question if people are denying that they’re denying that story. I think a lot of times people do know that they’re, sharing that story. Or even if it’s not verbal. I think that sometimes if we’re really saying negative things about ourselves; we feel it in our mind, we feel it in our bodies, where we hold attention.

Because I think that that honestly, the first thing to do is to be able to acknowledge it. We can’t really move into another realm until we understand that, you know what, this has been a problem for me.

Therefore, I need to seek outside assistance or therefore I need to seek meditation or therefore I need to just figure out what is going to work for me in order to get past it. But if we’re not able to honestly, and authentically say that this is something that I want to work on, or that this is a problem, or even acknowledge that, that we do it, then we’re just going to continue going down that same rabbit hole.

And that’s, and, we know it. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Oprah when she talks about, like the whisper. You know, when something doesn’t quite feel right for you, you hear this little whisper, like it’s like, something someone’s saying to you, like, “Hey Steven, this doesn’t really quite feel right.”

Steven: [00:14:36] Would you say, that’s gut maybe is that your gut?

Dawn Fraser: [00:14:39] It’s, your gut. But then little by little, you keep on doing the same crap. You know, say it’s a job or say it’s a, person that you’re connected with in a bad relationship. Little by little at your gut is getting a little louder. It’s like, “Hey Steven, I, I, don’t really, I really don’t like this.” I really am not feeling comfortable about this”.. Till it gets to the point where you’re like “Steven” wake up and you’re like beating your head against a wall because you’ve been ignoring the whisper for years upon years upon years. And you just hit a wall.

And the goal is like not to hit the wall, to start listening to the whispers, because that’s, the first sign that, that we might need to course correct.

Steven: [00:15:29] And sometimes those wake up calls or illness, car accident, lose your job. Like sometimes it can be a real shake, a physical shake, if you don’t listen.

Dawn Fraser: [00:15:38] Absolutely. Absolutely. And I know you know what, this particular year there’s been a lot of shakeups. A lot of people feeling it in their bodies, feeling in their minds, feeling in relationships. It’s like it’s all around them. It’s in the media. And, and so, I think it’s important to also acknowledge what is, on the outside?

What, can we control and what can’t we control?

Steven: [00:16:03] I love that. So we were at internal and we could keep going through that. But you mentioned media and while, I trust that we will stay objective. I’d really like to dive into that area, because there’s so much going on in the media and it, shows up in many different ways; documentaries can be loaded, commercials can be loaded. There’s a lot going on.

From a storytelling perspective, what are some tools, that can prepare our listener to be more critical and to not necessarily, be tricked or be completely influenced by everything that they’re seeing, all these stories that they’re being told?

Dawn Fraser: [00:16:47] You know, it’s a really great question. And honestly, something that I’m still trying to figure out myself. Because as it relates to like media and, stories, we, connect with other humans because of the stories that we share. And so for, years, and install, even currently, I’m a big advocate of sharing, sharing your stories, sharing them as, a way to communicate your values.

Media often does this, from different perspectives about, as you said, documentaries or sharing of value about somebody’s journey, why they went on this journey, what it’s about. I think what’s been happening lately that I’m still trying to process and figure it out for myself is, when those stories are coming from a place that is either like leading, that is leading the listener into a space where they think that destruction or when they think that, okay.

Ways to tear us apart, are like the main premise or the main reasoning behind the stories. And so, one of the things that I often talk about is like “how much emphasis are you putting on any part of the story that you’re sharing?” And when it comes to the media, you’re not really, you’re not always, you’re not really knowing what parts of the story have been taken out and what part of the stories are being put in because you’re not having a dialogue with the media.

The media is basically just talking to you. So it’s not like a conversation where you can kinda like dig deeper into these thoughts. So, one of the things I’m trying to figure out is; when stories are being shared, and I believe that stories should always be shared and they always are being shared.

But when their intent is to manipulate or when their intent is to, not be authentic in terms of the “why” behind it and for there not to be another outlet to question the story or to question the why.. Then it becomes really tricky because then it’s just just, it just stories that are being fed to stories, stories, of being fed, until you feel like you are that story.

Sometimes people and I’ve seen this where, something that was shared from the outside. So say like you, you went to the store, had this hilarious moment with your girlfriend and you told the story so well that, I feel like I was there.

This happened before where somebody is able to tell a story so well, mostly that’s happens with, within families where it’s like, Oh yeah, I was there with you that day. And the person who said no, actually you weren’t, but that’s the power of, telling a story so well, from an external perspective where you people could almost imagine as if they were there.

So it becomes a little tricky. It becomes very, very tricky when the stories that we’re being fed are only coming from one dimensional and they’re not being, in the case of media, they’re not being fact checked.

Cause unfortunately that’s the era that we’re in, where we almost have to fact check the stories because the stories are sometimes being twisted or manipulated in a way that isn’t true to the human spirit of sharing, for that connectedness of that human connectedness, you know? So it’s, it’s, a tricky one.

Steven: [00:20:33] So maybe being aware that your brain wants to believe it’s true. Your brain almost favors the fact that what you’re being told is true, because it wants to be a part of that experience. You know, like you said, maybe days later, I’m like, yeah, Dawn I was with you. Like, I want to believe that I was there because it was so great.

Maybe if we’re aware that your brain defaults to that; in the most positive way possible, maybe we should question everything? Even something that a family member tells us. Because we know our brain functions the way it does, regardless of whether your story is loaded with an agenda, or you just want me to believe it so bad because you’re in the moment and you enjoy it.

So maybe there’s a fine line between sharing a story or a memory innocently, but doing it so well that you believe me, maybe I was wrong because maybe I remembered it differently. So I don’t, think there’s any way around that, aside from the fact that we should just question everything because we weren’t there.

We want to believe it. We want to think it was so great. We want to think it happened.

Dawn Fraser: [00:21:35] Right.

Steven: [00:21:36] Think there’s anything to that?

Dawn Fraser: [00:21:37] I think that, I, don’t want to say, we need to question everything, because of course, like sometimes you just want to be able to hear somebody’s story, like lean back, enjoy it. Feel like, you know, Oh my God, I just really feel like I have gone on a journey with this person.

But I do feel like if you are unsure about the source or if you’re not really sure about, if this can continue to be a dialogue, and if it’s a dialogue, I think and someone that you trust, I think that it’s great to be able to not have to question that person’s intention.

If it’s not a dialogue, in terms of something that’s coming to you as just like a one, one directional kind of thing. Then I think that it’s more important to start to question those stories and to get a little bit more perspective, a little bit more angles.

Yeah. So I think it depends on what kind of story, if it’s a one directional or if it’s a two directional conversation.

Steven: [00:22:37] One way versus two way.

Dawn Fraser: [00:22:39] Yes.

Steven: [00:22:39] That’s brilliant. I love that. So, I want to bring up one of your stories that I just learned of. Please tell us about “turbo toothpick” and the challenge that came after that after, Your challenge to use the same word twice.

And then how did you unpack that? How did you go from, down at the bottom, starting over and relearning a story that was to become your life. Cause you really committed to one story, that story was over. Please share that as much of that process as you can.

Dawn Fraser: [00:23:18] Okay. Great, great setup. So as a child, I always had this dream of becoming an Olympian.

That was, a story I was sharing with myself. It was the story that was being reflected in the media. Because I’m coming from an area of San Jose where it is more, it’s more central coast, California, which was very agricultural, very rural and it’s not the major cities where where there, you just see a lot of like talented people.

And so here I am in this kind of this suburban, rural part of California, and getting fun, crazy nicknames. One of them being turbo toothpick, cause I was so skinny and so fast. And another one being Black Lightning. Yeah, because I’m black and because I’m fast. And then a whole slew of other nicknames, Brown sugar, and pretty face, which is my parents’ favorite acronym. I’m an acronym. just way of just saying you know, we love you.

So my whole narrative up until about I was 20 years old was focused on the Olympics, went to UCLA, ended up running for their track and field team.

But only for that first year when I was a freshman, because I tore, gosh, the quad hamstring, like in the course of a couple of years. And, I had this moment where my twin brother, who has down syndrome, was coming to compete at UCLA, at a time when I was down and out. And was starting to feel like my dream of becoming an Olympian was quickly, quickly fading.

And as a result of my brother coming to UCLA and as a result of him participating in the special Olympics and as a result of him actually not going on, nor me going on. I, did realize that, yes, this was going to be the end of this narrative. I was no longer going to be a runner. I was no longer going to be in the news.

I was the, for running, and I didn’t really feel like I had my identity. My, I, felt like my story was, I was a runner. That was my story, was my identity. And that was the only story that I was sharing about who I was and who I was becoming. And when, I lost the ability to really visualize myself anymore as an Olympian, I feel like I lost my path.

But, you know what? I was still, living, I was still alive. I was still trying to figure stuff out with a very like modeled head. You know, I didn’t want to see myself at UCLA. And so it became one of those things where the story that I was telling myself was just to go back just retreat, just, you know, just, just don’t die, but just go, just do nothing. And that was not the right story to be sharing with myself.

Little by little, I started seeing that there were lessons that I had not been paying attention to specifically as it related to my brother. As I mentioned, he has down syndrome and he’s very, gentle with like, babies, with children.

He’s very loving, very supportive, very, just wanting to be participant, a participant in the world. He wanted to be active and seen in the world. And when I started paying attention to that, just a little bit more, I started thinking about what are the stories that I was telling myself, what the hell am I doing?

I’m not just a runner. I’m also a twin. I’m also somebody’s daughter. I’m also, an immigrant or children, a child of immigrants, I should say. There were so many more pieces of me that I was not expressing. And seeing that through my brothers, lens, my brother’s eyes helped me to step into another version of myself and, and, that’s when I started like really leaning into one of my favorite mantras now.

Which is, you know, that change, change is inevitable, but growth is optional. Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. So things were changing all the time. And I couldn’t necessarily prevent the fact that I wasn’t, I was no longer going to be a runner. But at the same time for a moment there, I stopped growing.

I stopped feeling like I could grow. And little by little, I started seeing that, Oh, wait, I can grow. This isn’t the death of me, this might be the death of my running career, but it was the growth of actually starting to become a storyteller. And it was the growth that actually stepping into becoming a coach for others and seeing how I could help improve their lives.

And that was a journey that I started stepping into a little by little by little once I started to understand that I was not one story. I was not one dimensional. And when none of us are one dimensional or consist of millions, millions of stories and moments and experiences. And I think it’s up to us to really lean into the ones that are serving us now lean into the ones that, feel like, that this feels right.

You know, that whisper when that whispers in your, soul. And it’s like, you know what? I really like this. I really feel good when I do blank or I really feel like I’m in service when I do blank. It just starts to shift the stories that you lean into and the stories that you share about yourself to others.

Steven: [00:29:46] So when it comes to focus, commitment and drive. Yeah, I’ll speak for myself, for a long time it was one trick pony thinking that was the most efficient, effective way to be. I am an entrepreneur. I’m going to disrupt the industry, but it was one story. When that didn’t work out; similar to your, you said you had the injury, you drew a blank.

It was the same. When you, put all your eggs into one story, and that story is over, you don’t know where to go. You got to start over

Dawn Fraser: [00:30:20] Right. And that’s the, challenge of only having one story. You know, we are not one story nor is, nor should we assume that when we talk to other people that one story should be what we consist of in their minds, either, you know,

Steven: [00:30:37] So not being one story..

I want to go to, micro moments. Simple moments sharing from simple moments. So let’s, stay on track with multiple stories. “We are not one story.” What are your thoughts, what were your intentions with sharing from simple moments? Cause that’s the micro level versus macro level, “I am the person”; micro, “I am these tiny little moments.”

Dawn Fraser: [00:31:04] Yes. Yes. So, yeah. So going back to your first question, like a little while ago, when we were talking about like logging and gratitude, gratituding,

Steven: [00:31:14] “What are you doing , bro? I’m Gratituding.”

Dawn Fraser: [00:31:17] Gratituding right now, bro, you know what I’m saying? But using gratitude and logging, logging our thoughts and our memories. Well, one of the things that I started realizing is that by doing that, by seeing like these micro moments, that these are actually the things that kind of connect us on a universal as, humans.

Right? So for example, when I came back here to California, I, started seeing a slight shift in my relationship with my twin brother. As I mentioned before he, he has down syndrome. And so he, he needs help with things every now and then. One of them, which is a very consistent pattern since I’ve come home is trimming his beard.

The dude’s beard grows out like, a weed. Like I, we, shave it on Sunday and it’s like a full blown bush again by like Tuesday. Right. So every Sunday Dwayne comes to me and he asked to shave his beard. And, and at first I was just like, okay, cool; it’s a Sunday, dwayne is going to come and ask for me to help him shave his beard.

And I started remembering that when we were kids, I had this tendency of, wiggling his ear. It’s very silly, but we would sit on the steps of our house and my parents think that I was doing this ever since we were in the womb, but I’d literally take his ear and just kind of flip it back and forth, back and forth, Nope, no particular reason why this thing that I, got used to having this physical body, my “womb mate”. And having something physical to, do with his body, his ears, particularly. And so when I came back home and I started realizing that, of course I was no longer wiggling his ears because I haven’t been doing that since I’ve been away from California for the past 16 years.

But every Sunday instead, now I was shaving his beard and it made me realize something that was unique and special about our relationship. That, although I wasn’t doing one certain thing that our bond and our connection has grown into adulthood in a very special way that is almost like our own love language, right?

Like, I know he’s going to come to me on Sunday. I know that I’m going to help him out to cut his beard. It’s a, sliver of a moment that happens every single week. It’s a micro moment. But I feel like just telling that little mini story, so many people can connect with this idea of like, Oh yeah, I have like these, very small minuscule moments that mean something so important to me and my girlfriend, or that means suddenly so important to me and my, family.

So it’s one of those things where I always, I started leaning into this. Like asking people, tell me about a tradition or something that you do with your family or your loved ones that maybe nobody else really knows about.

It might be totally minuscule, but for whatever reason, it’s important to you. And from asking that prompt, we start to see these little small micro stories and surprisingly these little micro stories connect much more with other people because they, can see themselves also like in those moments, they see the types of relationships, you know, everyday moments.

As opposed to if I were to share with you like, “Oh, Steven, I’m going to share with you the story about the time that I was an astronaut and I went to the moon.” You’re not gonna be able to really connect as much to the story because chances are you haven’t traveled to the moon,..

Steven: [00:35:13] It’s not relatable.

Dawn Fraser: [00:35:15] It’s not relatable.

Steven: [00:35:16] Right.

Dawn Fraser: [00:35:17] But these small micro moments; people connect to them and people connect to those kinds of stories because of that.

Steven: [00:35:23] Love that makes me think of two things. One, I love how you said it’s kind of our own love language because you have five love languages.

You’re not two, and you’re not two of them and not the other three. You’re a combination of them. And just like language amongst humans, there’s language and dialects and infinite possibilities. Really. So I love how you said it’s our own love language. Just to put some, I don’t know, I just liked that you said that.

And then the second thing, you saying; people’s responses to your micro stories. What else is neat about that to connect to our conversation about media. I think what people intrinsically know about micro stories is they’re so micro that they’re so much less likely to have an agenda attached to them.

Right. They’re not loaded. It’s just the true essence of existence. And the experience shared between maybe two people. What could you possibly expect to gain by sharing? I play with my brother’s ear lobes. there’s no, it’s just magic. It’s just pure innocent magic. And I think that’s why, we’re drawn to those as well.

So I want to get a little nerdy. You, talked about your brain on story, oxytocin and, let’s, get into that. Oxytocin is a, it’s not a, is it a hormone, something to do with social bonding and reproduction? Just to kind of set that up. But I’ll, let you go from here.

Dawn Fraser: [00:36:50] Yeah. Oxytocin. It is. It’s a, hormone and it is released when we feel good, when we are hugging somebody. Some people refer to it as the cuddle hormone, because like when you’re like cuddling with somebody. It’s also at least when we’re having intimate sex.

And there’s, it’s, the same exact hormone and chemicals that are released in our brain when somebody is sharing a really good story. Even when those stories you feel like, like, the example I gave earlier, when you feel like you were there in the moment with your brother, uncle, whatever on this, trip and you actually weren’t. It’s the same drug that kind of, almost manipulates the mind to make you think like you were there with them.

And essentially what happens is the more that hormone that’s released, the more that we’re able to empathize with one another. And so that’s why they say a really well told story; it’s like your brain being on drugs because you automatically are connected to this person. You automatically just feel an affinity, a warmth towards this person because it gets to your brain. It’s literally, your brain is doing this to you because you’re feeling this, oxytocin being released in your body, you’re feeling low to warm fuzzy. So you’re feeling like, Oh my God, I love this person. I want to connect with this person, I’m inspired by this person.

And, and so as, that’s happening, people and especially people who are like, into marketing for positive marketing, have realized that they could actually utilize this, this storytelling thing for, good causes. So, for example, like, UNICEF in the eighties, when they were sharing campaigns of you.., like UNICEF, like the different like UN like “Feed the Children Campaigns”.

Steven: [00:39:03] Gotcha. Okay.

Dawn Fraser: [00:39:04] Yeah, but UN initiatives, that kind of focused. Instead of talking about Steven, if you give us 25 cents a day for the next month you can help feed five children in rural Kansas. What they started realizing is that we wanted to shift that so that it’s more focused on, the person, on the story.

So instead they would say; this is Diana. Diana is five years old. Diana walks about a mile every single day to get water, to bring back home so that she can, feed her, siblings and take a shower. But did you know, Steven, that, Diana is only one of a thousand children whose lives could be changed?

And, if you provide 25 cents a day, which is not even at the equivalent of your coffee and, coffee cup of coffee in the morning. And we started seeing how humanizing these stories releases the oxytocin in our systems. And that provides the opportunity for more people to want, to give more people to, connect to the stories of, these people were trying to market for, good.

And so little by little, we started seeing how oxytocin connects to all different types of stories for all different reasons. But at, its core, we are hard wired. For great stories. We are hardwired to connect because that’s just what happens in our brains. we, we, just love when a good story is shared.

Steven: [00:40:56] So do you think our brain is, we kind of touched on this earlier, but with everything you’re saying, if the story is so great, are we less apt to question it we’re more apt to believe it, whether it’s loaded or not?

Dawn Fraser: [00:41:09] Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I think that if it’s a really great story, loaded or not, we, connect with it.

It’s just what happens to our bodies.

Steven: [00:41:23] So now I want to try to come up with a hack and if you’ve ever thought of this; what if we were to create a story, but for ourselves, could we trick ourselves into seeing a story about ourselves, maybe have like layout of a vision. And if we were to write a story of ourselves and watch ourselves, would we naturally gravitate to our own story?

Dawn Fraser: [00:41:44] Absolutely. Absolutely. Have you, have you, read The Secret or do you know about the secret

Steven: [00:41:52] Law of Attraction?

Dawn Fraser: [00:41:53] Yeah, the Law of Attraction. If we start sharing images about ourselves, about where we’re going or who we are becoming, and we start putting that down; sometimes on paper or sometimes in a visual manner, or sometimes just even talking it out..

We are literally changing little tiny pieces of our internal selves as we are changing to, to become that person. And so we start to share our, with ourselves. Okay, like I know, I’m not here today. I know I’m not a millionaire. I know I ain’t got no fancy house, no kids. But that’s what my dream is, my intent. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but, remember this goal, it goes back to our initial point when we first already acknowledged that it’s not where we’re at today.

It’s not where we’re at today, but what it’s where we’re going to. And so by sharing these stories of who we want to become, who we want to be. Little by little, our mind sets us up intentionally to become that person. Not by just like sitting back and not just like putting this stuff down on paper, like looking at a picture of a house and kids and money or whatever else that dream life might be, vacation. But actually like, seeing that and knowing day by day seeing the reminder that I’m stepping into that version of myself every single day, little by little because once again, our growth is still happening.

Steven: [00:43:37] And what I love about it being late.

I’m sorry.

Dawn Fraser: [00:43:40] Oh, go ahead. Yeah.

Steven: [00:43:40] What I love about it being laid out this way is I think; Law of Attraction, The Secret, Break the Habit of Being Yourself, Dr. Joe Dispenza, it’s becoming more mainstream, but what’s neat about coming at it from the angle of oxytocin. It kind of says this is becoming science. It is no longer magic. It’s less “woo-woo”, it’s more measurable. It’s a real thing. It’s something your brain is actually hardwired to do.

Dawn Fraser: [00:44:06] Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, but because once again, it’s only one part of the one part of the story and one part of the narrative, we also have to still address, other stories that we might be sharing or other things that we might be doing. Have you ever seen people who have a big dream, but then almost sabotage their own intentions?

Right? You see these people like literally sabotaging their own, their own efforts.

Steven: [00:44:38] And why do you think that is?

Dawn Fraser: [00:44:43] I think we do that because sometimes we’re scared of our own power. We’re scared of our own potential. It’s almost like we’re just sometimes more scared to step out into who we’re becoming than we are okay with staying with who we already are. And it’s it’s, it continues to go into like what we need to do in order to, step into that person that we are becoming. To feel, to know that it’s going to be rocky and bumpy, but that rocky and bumpiness is not a sign of, if it’s not a sign that you’re not doing it right.

It’s a sign that you’re figuring it out. And sometimes when things don’t feel right, people feel like, okay, this is a sign that I need to quit. And so that’s fine. I need to stop. Sometimes it’s not a sign that we actually just need to see this as the next step or the next hurdle that I need to get to, to my growth and to my, to the next best version of who I am becoming.

Steven: [00:45:54] So maybe we need to learn to build in some breaks into our vision, into our story? If we write a, if we write this story that we hope to plan out, or that we tell ourselves “I’m going to be an Olympic gold medal winner”, you know, I’m going to meet an Olympian. That is a story, there was no part maybe built into that story that “maybe, we’re going to go around the other way.”

So maybe it won’t be a gold medal, but it’ll be a degree from an Ivy league college and I’ll be, it’s the end goal is greatness. But it’s what kind of greatness. And we need to build in some flexibility into these stories. So that, like you said, when you hit a rough patch, we don’t think “it’s over, I’m doing this wrong.”

We’re already mentally prepared for the fact that that’s a part of the story.

Dawn Fraser: [00:46:40] Absolutely

Steven: [00:46:40] .. you’re still making progress. You’re not falling backwards.

Dawn Fraser: [00:46:43] Absolutely. I’m kind of going back into the Olympic example. The, initial vision for myself may have been like a vision board that had the Olympics and the rings on it.

Only for me to real later realize that actually this vision was about me coaching others, to go to the Olympics. And it’s not even the Olympics that we’re going to see in Tokyo, but it’s a special Olympics I’m going to see in my, neighborhood or in my local community. The thing is I think that we had to put our, intentions out there and not be upset when they manifest in different ways.

It’s kind of like the, I have some friends, for example, now that we’re in our thirties, forties, most of my friends are like in that general frame. And a lot of, my friends have questioned about this idea of, children. A lot of my friends, self included have always thought about, okay, traditional family, two kids, white picket fence, you know?

But little by little it’s okay, actually I didn’t realize that those two kids might not be my own biological children. It was actually a vision of creating a family with somebody who had lost his previous partner, but have these two beautiful children that still deserve love, that still deserve a home.

I didn’t realize that at the time, but I’m not going to deny that person, my, love or my attention, because it’s not the vision that I set up for myself when I was 18 years old. if family is something that is important to me and that vision of family, it might not look exactly how as I mapped it out in my mind, but it is going to look in a way that feels, like it’s, actually built into that way that, I can’t control, but that I’ve always wanted.

Steven: [00:49:02] I love that. That’s that’s excellent.

There’s a lot to that. That’s great.

Dawn Fraser: [00:49:14] Keep in mind, like this is all stuff I’m still learning myself. I’ve been telling stories for the past 10 years, but I’m just not understanding how the stories that I had already been sharing in the past, how some of the lens and the ideas that I had about these moments have shifted.

I’m no longer the same person. I have no longer have to believe that the stories that I’m sharing, that they’re the different between sharing a story that’s truthful versus a story that’s factual,

Steven: [00:49:50] Ah, Ooh. Please explain, what do you mean by that?

That’s good.

Dawn Fraser: [00:49:57] So, there are like the facts of something are the things that have happened that are concrete, the actual facts, like the fact is I was living here, I was doing this and this happened, Those were the facts. But the, truth behind it and like the intention behind it, in terms of how I see that now is it’s, different.

So the facts haven’t changed, but the way that I think about it has changed, you know, at the moment it was the worst thing that could have happened. Now, I see it as like a blessing that kind of led me into a different space. The facts have not changed. But by growth and the way that I’m thinking about it has. And I’ve allowed myself to lean into that option.

Steven: [00:50:50] That’s the best. So that makes me think of looking back on a lifetime line or old memories. You can look at the facts. This is how our family was. This is who we were. This is where we lived. We can almost reprogram your perspective of that. You could say I had a rough childhood, or you could say, my parents are doing the best they can, they could, it could have been worse.

And it taught us a lot of things and it made me who I am today. So it’s it, would you say it’s a little bit of reprogramming?

Dawn Fraser: [00:51:17] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I’m just going back for a quick second to like the Oprah example. Did I bring up helper earlier? Oh yeah. The whisper, that’s right.

The, the Oprah example. I often just think about her story that she’s shared from the past. And I think about her story specifically because it’s one; there’s a lot of trauma there’s a lot of trauma in her past. Growing up extremely poor in the South, being molested, having a baby and then not having that baby actually ever live.

Just like a lot of hard realities that she had to live through and she could have used that story; because those are the facts. Those are the facts and those facts could have been that her story that she was going to tell the rest of the world forever and ever amen; was like because of this, I, I’m not going to be able to thrive ever. I’m not going to be able to get the kind of job or the kind of love or the type of relationship that I want.

And the more that, is part of, as much as those facts are very critical and harmful. She instead utilized it as leverage to say, I’m going to use this and share my stories and my experience because I don’t ever want anyone to live through this again.

I want to make it be able to like to uplift people and to see their power and the potential. Because when you’ve been in the darkest of the abysses, that’s when you can see that there’s a whole other set of light on the other side of this. And so instead of staying in that place where the facts of her story kept her down, she used the fact of her story to continually lift herself up, lift other people up until she became like the mogul that we see today.

And so I just think that, okay. And so I just think that, that being able to distinguish between, the facts and, what is actually, who it is that you’re becoming is, important.

Steven: [00:53:41] It makes me think of the saying, “speak your truth”, not, the truth, your truth. And that’s entirely up to you.

Dawn Fraser: [00:53:48] Right? Right. And the way that you interpret your facts and how you interpret your truth. Are completely up to you?

Steven: [00:53:56] So then touching on sharing stories with yourself, sharing stories with family, we talked about micro moments. We talked about media..

I’ve always kind of wondered how do we maintain our insert buzzword, “vulnerability”, “authenticity”, all those things that are now revered on social media. It’s made social a little more “real”, but how do you share a bad day? How do you be ultra vulnerable, ultra authentic without making your following’s feed sticky, without sharing some of that trauma, without sharing some of that negativity?

And I learned a statement from you. I’ve used it many times since for myself and shared it with other people, but, how would you determine the difference between when you should share and when you should maybe wait?

Dawn Fraser: [00:54:50] Right, right. It’s so good. And, once again, this kind of goes back into our gut and our feelings.

And one of the barometers that I, often use and I think you’re referring to is this mantra of “We’re telling stories from our scars and not from our wounds.” So if you’re on social media or if you’re thinking about publicly sharing a story..

The goal is to share a story from a scar and a scar is something where you can it’s, physically sometimes physically still there, sometimes mentally still there. But it’s obvious that it’s healed. It’s, scabbed up. It’s something that we’ve processed and it’s something that we can actually talk about without still feeling the wound of the immediate trauma.

Cause a scar, looks ugly. if you have a scar on your arm, for example, maybe at one time it was all bloody and it’s all like dry and you can feel like the, dry blood all on your skin. That’s a scar right? Before it became a scar though, it was a wound. And when it was a wound, it was open. It was fleshy, it was probably still bloody. And it probably hurt a lot more because it hadn’t yet healed.

And so when we think about sharing these stories, we have to think about, is this a wound? Is it still fleshy? Is it still raw? If I get up and I tell it, am I going to break down? Am I going to, am I going to cry? Am I going to leave myself and my audience in a place of feeling like they need to come in and helped me or. Or is it a scar that’s been healed where I can almost say this is what I learned from this mistake or from this moment, it’s all, it’s, still a scar. It’s still on me. It’s still part of my history, it’s part of my facts from the past and this is what I learned from it. And this is why I think it’s important to share this story.

So I think it’s always important to think about if it’s a wound, the space for it is more like therapy or with a loved one. You know, if it’s something really traumatic, like a recent divorce or a recent death, .. Give yourself some time to, heal before you share those stories.

Let that become a scar first so that you can talk about it and talk about it where you’re not going to have your audience feeling like they’re also being scarred and you’re not re-scarring yourself or re-wounding yourself is what I should say. Instead we want to like have it be some, a story where it was hard and it still might be hard, but you have come to a different place and you no longer are breaking down and not necessarily feeling like this is something that I can’t talk about without leaving my listener at a better place themselves.

Steven: [00:58:10] So I feel like we all have a responsibility to say by sharing the story, am I aiming to help myself? Or am I aiming to help everyone who’s going to hear this?

Dawn Fraser: [00:58:21] Exactly. And then how, do I feel about it? Just in, general, in my own, in my own body? When I start to talk about it, am I in a place of compression or am I in a place of expansion?

Steven: [00:58:40] So, you know Jess, my girlfriend, we talk about this a lot when we’re going through a chapter and we all have, we have challenges at each chapter.

Do you feel like there’s something to be said about like a sweet spot? Cause I feel like; remember when you were 25 years old, there was probably maybe a crazy relationship, something or other happening. You were really in the thick of it and you probably went through the process, whether you were aware of it or not wound to scar.

Now it’s many years later, your priorities have changed. Your perspective is so much wider that, that big all encompassing moment / chapter is now just a blip. Is there kind of a sweet spot to capture that magic before it goes too far down your timeline?

Dawn Fraser: [00:59:30] So capturing it in, what way?

Steven: [00:59:33] Sharing, sharing with absolute passion from a place of a scar.

So I imagine I could tell you more about what I learned from my relationship in my twenties, maybe a year after versus what I could tell you now. Because now I would probably just give you the short version. So for someone who wants to be a storyteller who wants to, like Oprah, share stories to help the world, is there a sweet spot? Or,..

Dawn Fraser: [01:00:01] Yeah, no, I think that there is because the 25 year old you, if your 25 year old self had been true with yourself; kind of like logging your moments or your experiences. You know, if you reflect back on that, you probably feel different today than you felt then. But if you take yourself back to your 25 year old self and and stay there. That’s, where the problem might be.

But to acknowledge that you aren’t any longer there, but to be able to share what it was like when you were 25. Versus what it’s like now and what you learned from that 25 year old self that you didn’t realize at the time..

I think it’s all a matter of continually growing into like better iterations of yourself while still being true and authentic to how you really were as that 25 year old. You don’t have to, but like I said, you can’t change if you messed up, you can’t change if you were not that great of a person or whatever that 25 or 25 year old self version of yourself was, right.

But I think that the nice sweet spot is to be able to say yes, this was me and yes, this is me today. It’s not a either or it’s a, yes and.

Steven: [01:01:34] Oh, let’s talk about improv.

Dawn Fraser: [01:01:38] Yes, yes. Yeah. So I think that the sweet spot is a as a matter of acknowledging both; depending relative to time, space, persona.

Steven: [01:01:51] Do you feel like the more you’ve studied storytelling, the better storyteller you’ve become? Do you find that your mental health, your state of being, your memories, your perspective of memories has gotten better? Or are you telling yourself better stories in your mind as you experienced different things?

Dawn Fraser: [01:02:12] I think so, interestingly enough, last, let’s see.. No, I guess I was a couple of months ago. June, was father’s day. June was the first time that I had been invited onto a stage to share a story for Father’s day that actually came up with a story.

And it’s not because my father was out of my life; my father was very, very, much a part of my life. I lost him when I was 20 years old and I was just kind of fully developing into an adult. And I didn’t start telling stories until about 30, 30. 30 something. Yeah, about 30.

So, there was about 10 years of things that were happening that did not necessarily include my dad.

But as I started becoming more and more of a storyteller and tapping into more and more memories, it allowed me to go back even further. And so when I was asked to share a story for Father’s day, it took me a moment because I was like, Oh wow. Oh, a direct story that I’ve shared in the past like 10 years about my dad.. Like he’s always referenced, but not like specifically about him.

And so I went up to his, his grave, which is here in San Jose and sat down with it. Sat down with a pen and paper. And it’s kinda. Sat there I like talking to him about thoughts and memories and things that are kind of coming up that were like specific to our connection, our relationship. And I started realizing, and I had never made this connection before, I started realizing that so much of what I love to do as a communications coach came from my dad being a coach.

My dad loved, loved, coaching my soccer team, or like the entire community soccer team. He was my track and field coach when the other coaches, coaches at that high school would do it up until sixth period and afterschool. And on the weekends, he would take me up to the Hills and we were continuing to like to training and really execute. And, and I was becoming stronger because he spent so much time focusing on not only being my father, but also being like my coach.

And when I started thinking about my life now, as a communications coach, I had never put those two pieces together. That’s so much of what I love about coaching comes from my dad and what that position and that role that my dad did for me, being able to see my talent, being able to see what I needed to do step by step to make me stronger and better and a better athlete.

What I do now by looking at people’s stories and seeing how they can find to them and how they can make them, better versions of themselves that they articulate themselves. So anyways, all that to say, that I think that because I have started tuning into the power of my own stories and reflecting on my own stories, it’s mainly better able to connect those dots a little bit more succinctly. Even from those moments when I hadn’t been keeping a journal or those moments when I hadn’t necessarily thought about the power of own story, I was just living life.

But I think that by, continually sharing my stories and understanding what kind of goes into them and the emotion behind them has made me better able to tap into who I am, who I’m becoming.

And those forces of my past that have shaped my own journey.

Steven: [01:06:14] Wow. So you get to really take stock of all of your experiences. So if someone’s sitting in their chair right now; maybe a nihilistic view of their life in the world, what’s the point, why am I here? I’m a nothing. I’ve done nothing.

If they can.. It sounds like story; the architecture of story storytelling is an excellent tool to go within and deconstruct your own story, to find more magic, to find things that you have done. Because it’s easy to kind of forget. We’re just surviving. We’re going through moment to moment. Yeah. This sounds like an excellent tool to reverse engineer what has gotten you to this very moment.

Dawn Fraser: [01:06:57] 100%, but we’re not here by accident and we’re here because of a set of, moments, experiences, and the ways that we’ve responded to those moments and experiences. now that..

Steven: [01:07:10] Respond and not react

Dawn Fraser: [01:07:12] Yeah. That we’ve responded to them. And once again, how we responded, it’s not, there’s, no definite meaning behind anything that we’ve done. That meaning it could have, one, the meaning could have felt negative at that point in time.

Now we see that as a positive thing.

Steven: [01:07:34] Hmm. Please say that one more time. There’s no definite meaning behind anything that we’ve done? No, nothing yet.

Dawn Fraser: [01:07:40] No, no. It’s our interpretation.

Steven: [01:07:44] Love it. Yeah.

Dawn Fraser: [01:07:45] Yeah. It’s our interpretation of it.

Steven: [01:07:47] So back to your comment about truth, there’s no definite meaning because it’s all in how we look at it. It’s all in how we define that truth as either negative, positive, constructive, waste of time, “no definite meaning in anything that we do.”

Dawn Fraser: [01:08:00] Yeah. If you take like a quick like football analogy, I don’t know if like your audience like watches football or anything like that. But any type of sport. Sports let’s use basketball, who cares?

Say you’re a warriors fan and say I’m a Lakers fan, right? I know the two California teams, but whatever, we’re just going with the hypothesis going to win either way.

Steven: [01:08:21] Boston’s going to win either way, so it’s fine.

Dawn Fraser: [01:08:25] Let’s use Boston, Boston and the warriors. Okay. The Celtics and the Warriors. So we go to a game and all of a sudden, like last minute, Warriors crush it with the slam dunk at the very last, 0.1 second of the game, right?

To me, this slam dunk at the end of the game was the best thing that could have happened in this entire, this entire game. It was Epic. It was the best thing that could happened. To you that last slam dunk, there was no foul called, that was some BS, that was like wrong. I can’t believe that they’re right. The fact does not change, the fact that there was a slam dunk in that last one second does not, is a fact, right.

Our interpretation of it can change depending on who, what lens we’re like putting on any moment. What, the way that we’re seeing any experience. So, it’s, one of those things where like we can, you know, depending on our perspectives and other things, of course that have come prior to this moment are going to shift the way that we see this.

But that moment is not a bad moment. Inherently that moment is not a bad moment. And apparently that moment is not a good moment. There’s no meaning to this moment, but my interpretation of it might be like, it was the best thing or it was the worst thing.

Steven: [01:09:56] It’s very stoic there there’s no good or bad. There’s just, what is.

Dawn Fraser: [01:10:00] It is, it is.

Steven: [01:10:02] There are few facts, but infinite truths. I’m trying to put, your stuff together. Facts. Truth.

Dawn Fraser: [01:10:10] Yes.

Steven: [01:10:15] So good.

well this has been an absolute pleasure. I want to start to close out. Can we list for our listener, any kind of resources that have impacted you, maybe when you’re 18 and any point at your journey that has helped to mold you into your current perspective?

I know you’ve worked with The Moth, if you want to share that or your experience with TED. How can someone get ready for something like that, a TEDx, anything that comes to mind?

Dawn Fraser: [01:10:45] Yes.

Steven: [01:10:46] Thank you. Yeah.

Dawn Fraser: [01:10:47] So some excellent resources that I think that everybody should listen to and check out are more stories, just more stories in general.

And since it’s the podcast, I’m assuming that people are into podcasts. So. Some podcasts to check out, include The Moth, which is one of the organizations I currently serve as a lead instructor for. In other words, I go out and I train people to tell their stories for The Moth. But the moth is essentially a storytelling podcast.

People get on stages around the world and they share true stories. Live with no notes. They could be amazing stories, riveting stories, they could be sad stories or they could be a story about somebody going to the moon or it could be somebody about the time that the dog just became there, your child, like whatever that story might be.

So The Moth is an excellent podcast and addition to other ones like Risk. Risk are kinda like the stories that you never dare to share.

Okay. So I think that listening to stories like from The Moth, Risk, and then of course there’s always the other side of that coin. So I think people listen to The Moth and Risk and storytelling podcasts, for the “story worth sharing”. The other side of that coin would be TED, which are the “ideas we’re spreading”, right?

So the TED podcast and even the YouTube channel is great in terms of like, if you’re looking for specific information or tips around mental health or tips around the around story or whatever that might be. TED goes a little bit deeper from the story into the idea. So I think that that’s another great resource.

And then there are some great, I feel like I’ve, read quite a few books as well. That have really been pivotal. One of them is by Matthew Dicks and the book is called Story Worthy. He is a, great, an amazing storyteller. I think he’s won The Moth like 40 times. Meaning you’d go to a slam, throw your name in a hat.

You’re judged because, we were always into judging people, regardless of stories or not. You’re judged and then the winner of the night is the champion. They go on to a grand slam. But anyways, in any case, Matthew has won The Moth, grand slams like around 40 times. And so he really really knows his work and has this book out called Story Worthy, which I think is awesome.

So, yeah, those are just like some of the things in terms of books, podcasts, and YouTube stuff that I think that people should check out in terms of great resources. As it relates to my own work, I always have different courses that are optional for people to join; optional free, optional paid, but one of them that I’m doing right now is called Ideas That Ignite.

And it’s a course for those who have really been stepping into like their voice and interested in landing a TED or TEDx talk in this upcoming year. So, I’ve been able to see the power of my own story and sharing my power, sharing my own story. So I want to be able to like, provide that outlet for other people to share their story in a way that creates like ripple effects in in the world and allows people like really step into like their own amazing steps step into their, platform, their voice, and to build like a really amazing following or tribe or whatever that might be.

I just don’t know of many other platforms that are industry agnostic that really can amplify your platform more than TED. So that’s one of the courses that I have now, or that’s actually coming up in October, called Ideas That Ignite.

But during the course of the year, I have different courses. Another one’s called story to story to speech to sale; which shows people how to actually take a story, turn it into a speech and then be able to use your speech to be on a speaking circuit and get paid thousands of dollars for your talk. Or even how to leverage them.

Yeah, yeah. Like what you’re doing now. And so, yeah, so I basically have different programs that are all focused on first finding that story and then understanding what you can do now that you actually have claimed your story. And another one for example, is also Storytelling for Public Health.

And, and for mental health. So sometimes people just want to be able to step out of their own skin and just connect with their partner or in relationships. And so sometimes people just need help with like just, sharing a basic story. So during the course of the year, I offer different programs, that are all kind of start off with sharing a story and understanding how to apply it and apply it to business, apply it to your personal life, et cetera, et cetera,

Steven: [01:16:25] Love that. Thank you. And I’m going to include in the show notes all that information. There’ll be plenty of links to your course and other things you mentioned, one that has really helped me understand and actually appreciate the idea of story, the structure of story; have you seen any of Steven pressfield’s The War of Art and The Artist’s Journey?

Dawn Fraser: [01:16:48] Yes. I, need to, I need to go back over the War of Art. Because I know that it’s a big part of it, but, but yeah, so that one and what was that one that you just mentioned?

The Hero’s Journey. (it’s the Artist’s Journey)

Oh, right of course. Yes. So the hero’s journey is actually something that I teach as one of the models that people like every person should see and understand the hero’s journey; in terms of how stories are set up and why they work, right. From a place of feeling like your note, excuse me. Feeling like you’re going into almost unawareness, challenge and abyss, until you you find like somebody who is almost like your, guru, your GPS, something that’s gonna help guide your way back out of, out of the journey back into this enlightened enlightenment,

Steven: [01:17:48] And for anyone who’s listening, the example that Steven Pressfield uses in the hero’s journey is Star Wars. So if you hit rewind and listen to what Dawn just said, she explained Star Wars.

Dawn Fraser: [01:18:00] Exactly, exactly. And some of the other films by Disney. Right?


Merman, just like all, all of them. They all kind of how it was similar.

Steven: [01:18:10] It’s neat to learn the structure and then go back and see old movies, read old books and just see the blueprint. It doesn’t make you appreciate any, less.

If anything, you can really, you can not just be a consumer, you can kind of be the observer and see what’s actually going on.

Dawn Fraser: [01:18:26] Exactly. Exactly.

Steven: [01:18:30] Excellent. Well, this is your moment, Dawn, anything you would like to leave in closing anything you feel you want to say?

Dawn Fraser: [01:18:40] Wow. Well, I mean, this has been like, an awesome, awesome, awesome interview.

I just think that it’s really important for us to continue to know the importance of sharing our stories, because it’s not only something that’s part of who we are in terms of our own chemicals or in terms of our own hormones of who we are. But once we know how to leverage our stories, how to actually use it to make us better people, that it becomes an even more of an amazing tool that doesn’t require you to go invest in like a whole bunch of equipment.

It doesn’t require us to to do a lot. It just requires our time and our attention to them, to our stories, to our journeys. So I think that it’s more important than I think that people realize. But in the process of healing, in the process of becoming better versions of ourselves, I think it’s important to lean into our stories, our past stories, our present stories, the stories of who, who it is that we want to become and to realize that we can shape all of it.

We can shape all. We can change our perspectives on how we’ve seen past moments. We can change the way that we’re stepping into the present. And we can definitely modify when we see things that are not looking like what we expected for the future, but still feeling okay with it, because it is part of our it’s part of our growth as things change.

Steven: [01:20:15] That feels like the definition of empowerment.

Dawn Fraser: [01:20:19] Yes. Yes, it is. It is.

Steven: [01:20:22] I love that. Well, thank you for being here. I got so much love for you.

Dawn Fraser: [01:20:28] Same, Thank you. .

Connect with Guests & Host

Dawn Fraser

Dawn Fraser

Dawn Fraser is a storyteller, public speaker, and nationally acclaimed communications coach based in San Jose, California. She is the Creator/ Host of the ‘Barbershop Stories’ live show and podcast, which features storytellers performing true tales in barbershops and salons around NYC, and the Founder/ CEO of Fraser’s Edge, LLC, which offers programs for businesses, nonprofits, and college students the opportunity to develop their leadership potential through storytelling.

Past clients have included companies like Spotify, Vox Media, and Google as well as celebrities including the rapper Common. Dawn currently serves as a Lead Instructor with The Moth and was featured amongst some of the nation’s top changemakers at TED@NYC. She loves being a twin, a Trinidadian, and Instagramable @dawnfraser.Re-envision what it means to win – Dawn Fraser, TED Talk, TED@NYC 2013

Steven Fage host

Steven Fage

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