Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Darrell Darnell, thanks to a Christmas gift from a client I have new geeky goodies for Back to the Future, The Legend of Zelda, and Batman heading my way, and I believe that if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. In today’s episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I share a look back on Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

Today’s Fun Fact: Tis the season to make New Years Resolutions, right? Have you decided on your resolutions or goals for 2017? How did you do on your 2016 goals? Last year, GO Banking Rates set out to find out what people were thinking about for New Year’s resolutions. After conducting a survey of over 5,000 people, over 45% said living life to its fullest was their top resolution. Here’s how the survey results broke down. (Source: Huffington Post)

Americans’ 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:

Enjoy life to the fullest (45.7%)
Live a healthier lifestyle (41.1%)
Lose weight (39.6%)
Spend more time with family and friends (33.2%)
Save more, spend less (30.1%)
Pay down debt (27.5%)

The survey also found that:

More than half of Americans (57.6 percent) set a money goal.
Women are more focused on enjoying life to the fullest than men (at 47.6 percent vs. 41.4 percent) as well as losing weight (at 40.3 percent vs. 36.7 percent of men).
While millennials are the age group most concerned with spending less and saving more money in 2016, Gen Xers are the most focused on paying down their debt.
“Enjoy life to the fullest” is the top resolution of residents in 30 states.

What I Learned Yesterday
Here we are. We’ve arrived at what will be the final week, the final 5 episodes of Stuff I Learned Yesterday. Before I say goodbye on Friday, I want to spend some time today and reflect back on the stories that comprise this podcast. In taking a look at the stories of Stuff I Learned Yesterday, it’s clear that the stories are nothing without the people who willingly shared them. So I want to take a moment and thank every single person who shared a piece of their story with the Stuff I Learned Yesterday audience.

Friday Forums have always been one of my favorite parts of Stuff I Learned Yesterday. So let me begin by thanking Friday Forum contributors Jason, Joshua, Mike, Andrew, Justina, Zach, Susan, Faith, Lillie, Dani, Linda, Therissa, Hannah, Bonita, Geoff, Scott, Jeff, Barb, George, Daniel, Melissa, Zachery, Shane, Jess, Jill, Mark, Mandy, John, Mary, Emilee, Ana, Colby, Ben, Angela, Doug, Coop, Marge, Jeremy, Celina, Erin, and Wayne. The Friday Forums not only gave you the opportunity to be a part of this podcast, but they gave the podcast a voice and perspective that it wouldn’t have had otherwise. I am a white guy that just turned 40 this year. I live in the middle of America and I’ve always lived in a middle-class family. So I think I’m about as average as they come. However, you all come from all parts of the world with a world’s worth of experiences and perspective. The value you added to the podcast is hard to put into words. You were funny, and sincere. You were vulnerable and strong. You were honest and encouraging. You showed compassion and brokenness. You shared out of success and failure. You were all courageous and I love you all for that.

Stuff I Learned Yesterday would not have lasted this long if not for the support of the hosts that came along to lend their voices. Derek Olsen was our first co- host, but he wasn’t the last by a long shot. We also had the honor of having Mandy Wichert, Mark Des Cotes, Carrie Olsen, Mike Ahr, Geoff Gentry, Barb Rankin, and Emilee O’Leary. We also had several guest hosts along the way. Those folks were Faith McQuinn, Ruthie Rink, Aaron Peterson, Scott Drone-Silvers, Stephanie Zimmer, Brian Meloche, Therissa Libby, Joshua Rivers, and Brian Kane.

When it’s all said and done, Stuff I Learned Yesterday will have served as an outlet for over 60 voices. That’s over 60 perspectives and unique life experiences that were used to enrich my life and yours. From the most appreciative and sincere part of my heart, I thank each of you who contributed.

Now I want to spend a few minutes and talk about my process for creating an episode. I know the other hosts did this in last Wednesday’s episode, but it’s important for me to share my process so that I can tell you what I’ve learned.

My process usually starts with a list. I use an app called Wunderlist that I keep on my phone and my office computer. They sync up so that no matter where I am, I can jot down an idea. I have different lists for different purposes, but one of those lists is called SILY Ideas. There are currently 5 ideas on that list that will never be shared as an episode. That’t not to say that I have a list of ideas that would allow me to keep the show going. Three of those ideas have been on my list for 6-8 months. They haven’t been used for various reasons, but the truth is that they won’t work. I jotted them down when I had a rush of an idea but then when I had time to sit and think about how I would turn that into an episode, it was clear that they wouldn’t work. The other two ideas on my list are things that seemed like good ideas at one time, but then when I sat down to look at them again, I had no idea what I meant when I wrote them down. I keep them on my list in case my brain ever clicks, but so far that hasn’t happened.

I tell you that so that you get an idea of how my brain and processes work. I jot down ideas, no matter how random or insignificant they may seem at the time. Inspiration comes from a wide variety of sources and I need to be ready at any time. Once we moved to the season format, I started plotting out my episodes as far out in advance as possible. Each season called upon me to create 12 episodes and I don’t think I ever had all 12 figured out before the season started. Since my episodes air on Mondays, I have to have my episodes recorded by Sunday night. Long ago it became my routine to record my SILY episodes late on Sundays after the kids and Kari have gone to bed. However, my process for developing the idea starts on Mondays. I wake up Monday morning with my head cleared of the episode that came out that day and I begin thinking about the episode that I’ll be recording in 6 days. At some point throughout the week I’ll find some quiet time and think about how I want to begin the story and how I want it to end. That is, what will be the moral of the story. Those quiet moments typically come when I’m lying in bed at night or when I’m in the shower.

When Sunday night comes around, I start typing. I start with the opening thought that I’ve come up with, and then I just let it flow with whatever comes to my mind. In this way, my episodes are very much like a journal entry. Most of the time they come back around and fit with the ending lesson that I had in mind. After all, even though I’m writing it out for the first time, I generally have thought through the main points I’m going to hit along the path of the episode. However, sometimes I get to the end and discover something unexpected. In fact, last Monday’s episode is such an example. I intended to share some of my favorite Christmas stories and talk about the importance of family. However, once I got to the end and reflected on what made each of those memories special I realized that not only was it being with family, but it was being present in the moment. I was convicted that I need to do a much better job of getting my face out of my phone and being active with my family. So based on that conviction, I added that bit to the end of the episode. And I’m happy to report that I was much more present this year than I typically am, especially when I was at my in-laws house.

After I finish typing up my story, I record it, edit it, create an image for the website, and publish it. The entire process at the computer from typing out the first word to hitting the publish button takes me about 2 hours. I almost never read through the story before hitting the record button. If I spot a typo as I read, then I fix the typo and edit out the pause in the audio that occurred while the typo was being fixed. Would my stories be better if I did read through them and try to massage them into something wittier or with better wording? Perhaps. But for me, this is the process that works. I prefer to think about things a bit before I start writing, and then I prefer to keep that first draft as the final draft. Again, this keeps with the format of being an audio journal.

Remember I said I wanted to tell you my process so I could tell you what I’ve learned? Well, what I’ve learned is that there is tremendous growth that occurs through journaling. Journaling can come in a few forms. You can do it as a blog, similar to what we have for this podcast on our website. You can do it as a podcast like you’re listening to now. Of course, you can combine those two which is what we do here at SILY. However, you don’t have to ever publish your journals in order to find tremendous growth. Grab a notebook or journal from a store and write down the thoughts from your day. Open up Microsoft Word or some other word processing software and simply allow your fingers to type out what’s on your mind. Grab your phone or other recording device and just start talking. I know that you’ll not only be shocked by what comes out of your mind, but you’ll also find value and growth by doing it. It’s cathartic, healing, calming, and invigorating. It brings healing, strength, clarity, closure, and so much more. Don’t believe me, try it for a month and see for yourself. At the end of the month, read through your journal entries. For a better test, extend it to 90 days or 6 months. Stuff I Learned Yesterday has been one of the most self-strengthening things I’ve ever done.

As I reflect back on some of the stories that have been shared on this podcast, there are a few that come to mind as my favorites. I want to mention those before I close this episode.

Some episodes felt really good to me when I finished them. I thought they were really good and I’d probably hear some positive feedback. One of those episodes was last Monday’s episode. It’s episode 553- Christmas Memories. Indeed, I got compliments from several of you, including my brother. It’s always special when my brother calls me or texts me to tell me how much he enjoyed an episode. Episode 51- To Those Who Wear the Uniform is another one he and I both enjoy.

There are a few more of the early ones that seem to have really resonated with many of you. Perhaps it’s because you were still getting to know me in a new way, or perhaps they really do represent some of my best lessons. But these are episodes that still bring in comments to this day. I’m referring to episodes like number 23- The Halloween Candy Toilet Paper Mystery, episode 7- When Relationships Hurt, and episode 2- The Day I Slew the Fear Dragon. Several of you told me along the way that my episodes about the workplace really helped you or impacted you. One of those was episode 237- When Laughing is No Laughing Matter. One episode got so much positive feedback it caused me to do an episode dedicated to your feedback. That episode was number 448- When Life Isn’t What You Hoped it Would Be. It serves as an update and sort of companion to episode 7 that I just mentioned.

And then there are the community episodes. The community we have here at Golden Spiral Media has always been my very favorite thing. Episode 21- The Journey from Crippled to Courageous is the first example we did with a community perspective. I not only love that episode because of how it brings in the community aspect of GSM, but because it reminds me of how my deep bond with Emilee was formed. She’s one of the people I cherish most on this earth and my life is so blessed to have her as a part of it. Of course, the other big community episode we did is number 341- The Arrival of White Tulips. In that episode I share the story of how the GSM community reached out to comfort and give strength to Linda after the loss of her son. I look at Linda like a mother figure in my life and love her dearly. She’s a wonderful woman and the love expressed toward her by the other folks in the GSM community attest to that fact.

One other community episode I want to highlight is one that was submitted by a member of the GSM community. The episode is number 536- Your Story is Not Over. Hosted by Scott Drone-Silvers, Scott shares his very real struggle with depression and even suicide. Scott made himself vulnerable and demonstrated great courage. Behind the scenes, Scott struggled for weeks with this episode and how to share it. It’s one of the episodes I’m most proud to have in the library of SILY episodes. I believe it represents the best of what SILY is and tries to be. I believe it’s an episode that each of us should have on speed dial both as a reference to help others that are struggling with depression, but also to ourselves to help us better understand the very real struggle that depression is. Thank you Scott for sharing it with us.

Lastly, I want to point out the very first episode, The Contagious Smile of the Garbage Whistler. I’ll talk more about this episode on Friday, but it serves as an important reminder that no matter our status in life, no matter where we are located, no matter what we are doing, someone is watching. Because someone is watching, we have the opportunity to influence them. Will we be influencers of positivity, happiness, love, joy, peace, and kindness?

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope that this podcast has served as a source of positivity, happiness, love, joy, peace, and kindness in your life. I’m looking forward to hearing from Geoff tomorrow, Emilee on Wednesday, and YOU on Thursday. I’ll be back on Friday to write the final chapter in this journal.

I’m Darrell Darnell, and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

Follow Golden Spiral Media on Twitter at GSMPodcasts and facebook.com/goldenspiralmedia. To subscribe to Stuff I Learned Yesterday visit goldenspiralmedia.com/subscribe.  If you’d like to join our popular Facebook group please go to facebook.com/groups/stuffilearnedyesterday and if you’ve enjoyed this episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I would be grateful if you’d leave a review in iTunes by going to goldenspiralmedia.com/itunes.