Three Ways to Make the 4AM Club Work For You

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Articles | 4AM Club | Three Ways to Make the 4AM Club Work For You“Early to bed, early to rise makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

You’ve heard it said a million times before: the early bird catches the worm, and in the opinion of many highly successful people, the phrase is much more than a cliche. The benefits of an extremely early morning routine have been touted by so many self-made celebrities that the “4 AM Club” has become a part of the public vernacular. Any web search will pull up a dozen articles with contradictory research on the benefits and downsides of the routine, along with firsthand accounts of people “taking the 4 AM challenge.”

These trials are often full of negative impressions: disorientation in the dark hours before dawn; a mid-afternoon slump that belies productivity; and by dinnertime, the inability to form coherent sentences. And then, almost as quickly as it begins, the challenge is over, sworn off forever as an unrealistic, unachievable, and borderline inhumane goal.

Yet 4 AM remains the magic hour for many world changers like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Tim Cook, and experience has taught me why. In my world, it’s a time of quiet, focus, determination and accomplishment.

My routine is not without naysayers. An 8 PM bedtime with a 4 AM wake-up call has made me the subject of much critique over the years. Many people feel uncomfortable with my choice, claiming that my practices are unhealthy and not sustainable for the long term. Yet I’ve found deep joy in the practice.

As an entrepreneur and the mother of a growing family, high-paced days at my desk and endless days on the road, are only outpaced by high-energy evenings and weekends with my family of five. My favorite use of this early morning time is for my own personal development and self-care so that I can be at the top of my game during the remaining hours of the day. By waking up at 4 AM, I’m able to routinely take time for myself. I work out while listening to audiobooks, I meditate while I stretch, I prepare a healthy breakfast — and most importantly, I tackle my most critical work of the day while enjoying my espresso — all before 7 AM.

If this is something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet managed to find success in, here are a few keys I’ve found to making this routine not only possible, but extremely enjoyable as well:

Check your DNA

Have you ever referred to yourself as a “morning person” or “night owl”? We typically use these terms to indicate our preferred time of productivity — but they can signify something much more fundamental to our being. Our tendency to be productive at certain times of the day is often hard-wired in us, an internal clock that’s determined by our DNA. This genetic predisposition is called our chronotype. If you identify as a night owl, then you can stop reading now. This method is not for you and it never will be. In fact, research shows a correlation to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease if you try to force an extra early wake-time when your DNA is telling you otherwise. But if you feel like you do your best work in the morning, or maybe you’re not sure, than the 4 AM club could be for you.

Check your Watch

The key to making this system work, and to sustaining it, has everything to do with getting to bed at the right time each evening, and being consistent about it. Knowing the exact number of sleep hours that support your peak performance is requisite to success — mine is eight. While I can certainly make accommodations when my schedule forces me to get less sleep, more than a few nights of that in any given month effectively compromises all the systems that work together to make me successful in my day-to-day life. Without enough sleep, my motivation to exercise is zapped, my food choices start moving in a downward spiral, and my productivity at work takes a nosedive.

Check your Excuses

If you’re going to take a shot at creating a new early morning routine, you must go into it knowing that this is a no-excuses kind of practice. Follow the 21/90 rule — on average, it takes 21 days (or three full weeks) to form a habit. If the system seems to work for you, another 90 days (about three months) practice is recommended to turn it into a permanent lifestyle change. That said, you can bet your money on the fact that the first few days will be brutal. The first morning your alarm goes off at that other-worldly hour, your instinct will be to hit snooze with your inner voice pleading, “just a few more minutes.” A few more minutes inevitably turns into another hour or two, which is not getting you any closer to seeing if this system really works for you. Try combating this sleep trap by using the Rule of 5 as soon as you hear your alarm go off. When you hear the buzzer, count to five, pop up, and start moving out of bed, no matter how you feel about it in that moment. It’s totally normal to move through the motions of the first part of your morning like a zombie at first, but don’t let that stop you from making a routine of it for a least three weeks. Watch out for that sneaky 10-day slump too — for some people, the excuses come out after we feel like we’ve accomplished something, and we let our guard down.

Above all, know that every person is wired in their own way, and successful habits look different for everyone. Do not try to define yourself by what works for others — instead, let them inspire you to find your own routines that drive you toward your goals.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Articles | 4AM Club | Three Ways to Make the 4AM Club Work For YouJudith Nowlin, Chief Growth Officer with Babyscripts. Judith created iBirth™, a mobile care companion for pregnancy, birth and postpartum, to help healthcare practitioners deliver better health outcomes for women and children in the United States and beyond. The original idea for the app was born out of her prior decade of service in maternity care. The technology platform she and her team built has since impacted nearly 1 million families on their journey toward optimal health and wellness during one of life’s most precious times. iBirth was acquired in June 2018 by Babyscripts, Inc., the leading virtual care platform for obstetrics. You can find her here

How to Think Like a Futurist

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Futurist | How to Think Like a FuturistBeing a futurist means paying attention to new patterns or trends that are slowly percolating up through the market and/or society that have the potential to catch on in a major way. It’s about coming up with possible scenarios for the future given these developments.

For me, the ideal timeframe for futurist thinking is 5-10 years, because although no one can successfully predict the future, in this window you are more likely to be able to clearly see where things are going according to current operating models. Now, in 2019, I think anything beyond 10-15 years is reasonably futile because we bump up against the technological singularity (the time when machine intelligence becomes so sophisticated that it causes currently unfathomable changes to human existence).

The simplest way to imagine and prepare for the future is to devise intelligent strategies that will serve your company well. You can do this by reading a ton and consulting experts in your field about what they’re seeing. Futurists use tools that systematize these recommendations including scenario planning, environmental scanning, Delphi surveying, and individual software programs like Fibres, Futures Platform, and Athena.

Through your research, you will probably determine that financial markets and corporate structures are likely to change dramatically in the next few years. Blockchain will democratize, streamline, and improve the efficiency of ownership. Other potential developments in the financial sector include the increased use of algorithms to boost trading effectiveness, and the inclusion of machines and machine learning in individual and corporate financial planning.

Generally speaking, corporate structures will become flatter and more specialized, with fewer full-time employees and a network of virtual and contract workers who move in and out of the organization fluidly (including Boomers who work fewer hours but still contribute, unlike prior generations that were forced to fully retire at a certain age). The widespread use of flextime and remote work means that your success and productivity in a job will be judged by your results – not where or when you accomplished them.

In a general sense, employers will probably not “take care” of people the way they do today. Most employees will work in a contract capacity, meaning that they have to continually sell themselves and their value to organizations. One area of specialty won’t last very long and individuals will be responsible for continuously reskilling and upskilling to ensure they’re providing what the market needs. At the same time, geographic skills mismatches and demographic shifts mean that employers may not have the local talent they require and will have to become more flexible about building virtual teams so they can employ the best people for the job.

Organizations will also need to rethink their relationships with customers. The days of producing a product and expecting the customer to “just go with it” are over. Now, product development should be extensively informed by customer feedback, including analysis of that feedback via data analytics. Through iterative processes such as design thinking, companies can devise ideas, prototype and test them, and then adjust the offering based on changing conditions and received customer input. Organizations should also prepare for customer demand for increased customization, and believe it or not, a desire for the human element and traditional craftsmanship in products.

My final piece of advice in thinking like a futurist is to be proactive. Instead of insisting on a laser focus on your immediate business priorities tomorrow, keep your head up, your eyes open, and your mind curious. Take responsibility for identifying disruptions in your industry and training your workforce to cope with them. Remember that the future doesn’t just happen – we shape it every day.

About the Author

Alexandra Levit is the author of the new book Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future (Kogan Page). A business and workforce futurist and partner at People Results, she helps Fortune 500 and government organizations and their leaders prepare for the future of work through proprietary research, consulting, and program development.

Making Money On The Move

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals | Making Money On The Move
Want to make money this year? Well, if you’ve thought about buying and selling stock investments but been put off in the past by having to work with a stockbroker and having to pay this stockbroker, then fear no more. Today you can you can enter your own stock trades through a stock broker’s website or stock trading app. Mobile trading from your smartphone or tablet can be done on the go and means you don’t have to be stuck in an office, chained to your computer. You don’t even have to have your laptop, so you don’t necessarily have to chase WiFi signals at coffee shops or a shared workspace. Mobile trading allows you to manage your investments from anywhere that you have service. This means that whether you’re on holiday abroad or just out and about doing everyday activities, you have access to your accounts and trading.
Mobile trading isn’t just a way of checking your account balances or the price action of stocks, it is a way of trading stocks on your phone, executing instantly no matter where in the world you are. Here are a few great apps that you can use to make money on the move.

TD Ameritrade Mobile

TD Ameritrade is one of the largest brokerage firms, and the company offers multiple mobile apps depending on your needs. The basic TD Ameritrade Mobile app gives you much of the power you have on your desktop stock trading app in a mobile experience for iOS, Android, and Windows phones but for a more powerful trading experience, there is the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app which is available for iOS and Android.

For beginning and passive investors, the TD Ameritrade Mobile app offers plenty of power for your needs. You can customize your dashboards and screens, access research and advice, transfer funds, get market alerts, and even watch videos teaching how different types of trades and investments work. TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader is better for advanced and active investors, as it is loaded with charts, technical indicators, and analysis to help you make trade decisions and enter on the go.

IQ Option

IQ Option is a top investing application with a clean and intuitive interface, created to meet the needs of the most demanding traders. This platform provides clients with an opportunity to trade 500+ assets: from Forex and indices to commodities and stocks. With IQ Option, EUR/USD, GBP/AUD, CAD/CHF, shares of Tesla, Netflix, Spotify, Alibaba, oil and gold so many more can be traded just as easily and on the same platform.


An excellent one for beginners, if you want to invest and have no idea what to do, Acorns is a good one to start with. Once you link your bank account, Acorns will track your regular spending and “round up” purchases, which is then transferred to your Acorns account to invest. You can also transfer funds to your account manually. Once your money land in your account, Acorns will automatically build a portfolio of stock and bond investments based on a brief questionnaire you complete when signing up for a new account. The robo-advisor style app invests exclusively in ETFs to build you a diverse, broad portfolio in line with your investment goals.

Working In The Oil Industry: Finding Jobs

Finding a job in the current day and age is a lot more difficult than it ever has been before. Ever since the recession occurred, employment has been on shaky ground. The jobs on offer are scarce, yet there is a huge supply of individuals seeking work. The issue that has arisen is evident. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a job then don’t be disheartened. This blog post deals specifically with finding oil jobs. Nevertheless, some of the tips given can be used for other industries.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Oil Jobs
The truth is that whilst there may be fewer oil postings in comparison to say ten years ago, there are still jobs available. First and foremost, you need to know how to locate them properly and then you need to know how to make yourself stand out from all of the other candidates who have applied.

Finding and securing oil jobs

There are lots of different job recruitment websites on there for you to use. You are probably thinking “I’ve already been there and done that”. But, the key is to source out the best database websites for your field specifically.

Don’t go for a general recruitment website – containing everything from jobs in the field of cosmetic surgery to social care. Go for a website that specialises in the field of oil and gas. This is imperative. These websites completely focus in your field of expertise and so they are much more likely to be able to give you the help needed. After all, oil jobs extend a lot further than working on the rigs. You may want to work in sales for a company like This is where a specialist recruitment firm really shows its worth. Furthermore, those looking to recruit people in this field will be much more likely to use a specialist website. They will be sick and tired of posting jobs on websites whereby tons of people respond that do not have the training, experience, or qualifications necessary.

In addition to this, you should be mindful when picking what database website to go with. The site you choose should offer a lot more than merely a list of different jobs available. You should be able to gain all the advice necessary to help you secure the job in question. You can find some tips on this at After all, as mentioned in the introduction; it is not just about finding the job it is about securing it as well. In fact, some of the top oil job posting websites have their own blogs whereby they frequently post information regarding how to make yourself stand out from the crowd, the top companies to work for, and so on and so forth. Remember any information you can get your hands on is beneficial. There is no such thing as knowing too much.

If you follow the advice given in this blog, then you are assured to find the best online databases for gas jobs. These websites not only help you to find the job you are looking for, but they help you to secure it as well.

Viral Engagement on a Global Scale

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee EngagementAcross the globe, 85% of employees are either not engaged or are disengaged at work, according to Gallop’s State of the Global Workplace report, which estimates approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity.

Companies around the world are not performing as well as they could. They are leaving money on the table. But the problem is not with financial capital — it’s human capital, where too many companies are missing a key component of the growth equation.

In my experience, looking at an additional, little-understood “horizontal” approach can deliver huge returns. Research supports what I have experienced personally. It starts with the understanding that any employee can impact the engagement of every employee in a group.

A foundational study by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis out of the University of California and Harvard, respectively, demonstrated that cooperation spreads from person to person. Significantly, and to the surprise of many, they found that positive emotions actually spread further — from person to person to person to person — up to three degrees of separation, even among people who are not acquainted.

But it’s the breakthrough work of another researcher who proved that positive emotions spread from person to person in a work environment. Specifically, Yale researcher Sigal Barsade authored the study that linked the spread of positive emotion with improved cooperation, decreased conflict, and increased task performance in the workplace.

When you understand that viral engagement is possible — and that it happens when you shift your focus from top-down to side-to side — you have the power to fill in the missing piece and unleash a whole new paradigm in your organization.

Companies would be well-served to consider these 10 opportunities to create the conditions for viral engagement, with the understanding that engagement is contagious and can start from anyone, anywhere in an organization:

Selection: Do you hire good team players and hold the expectation that every addition to your team can have an immediate impact on the engagement of current employees?

Education: Does your company invest in the soft skills that will enable your employees to be more effective in engaging others?

Communication: Do you reinforce verbal and written communication as equally important in engaging others?

Compensation: Could you pay a small team bonus for improving engagement scores?

Recognition: How could you recognize individuals and teams when new practices are adopted that are generated “bottoms up?”

Promotion: Do team members know that engagement success is part of the path to promotion?

Retention: When people do leave, do you ask about engagement in exit interviews?

Performance management: Is engagement a part of performance management discussions?

Values: Could engagement language be added to define your organization’s values?

Assessment: Do you assess for engagement skill sets?

The good news is, that those at the top of organizations are finally aligned around this most critical issue. In fact, in the annual Conference Board survey reported for the first time last year that culture and engagement was the top priority in every region in the world as ranked by over 1100 participating CEOs.

With increasing focus from the top-down, there is reason for optimism. But there is also a need to listen much more intently to those on the frontlines to better understand what it will take for them to fully engage. An investment in the horizontal approach takes time and energy, but the returns are “off the charts.”

About the Author

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee Engagement | Rick Miller | Being ChiefRick Miller is an unconventional turnaround specialist, sought-after speaker, servant leader, and expert in driving sustainable growth. For over 30 years, he served as a successful senior executive in roles including President and/or CEO in Fortune 10, Fortune 30, nonprofit, and startup companies, including AT&T Global Services and Lucent Technologies. Throughout his career, he has been recruited from the outside to turn around poor performance in difficult times. His new book, Be Chief: It’s A Choice, Not A Title, helps leaders at all levels achieve their true potential. To learn more, visit