From 30 to 365: The 5 Things I Learned Running a 5am Club for 1 Year During the Pandemic
Your wake-up time…
a.) BEFORE quarantine
b.) DURING quarantine
It was May 29, 2020 when I posted this on Facebook. I wanted to know how the pandemic has affected everyone’s schedule, starting with the very basic—the time people wake up in the morning. It was also around this same time when I introduced and launched the Rise Up! The 5am Club or Ru5ac, a club that meets at 5am.
Being a morning person, waking up early has always helped me become productive and accomplish a lot of tasks even before most people wake up and start their day. I believe it’s the same for many morning people out there. However, the pandemic removed the usual structure of our mornings. Some people continued waking up early but, in the absence of the usual routine, found themselves filling the time by browsing social media and doing other unproductive activities. Others adjusted by waking up much later than usual.
The Rise Up! The 5am Club was formed to help members make full use of their morning by creating a healthy structure and helping provide focus on developing good habits such as exercise, meditation, and learning.
I launched the club in June 1, 2020, and in my mind it was going to be a “30-day club”—we’d be up only for the entire month of June. However, in a delightful and unexpected turn of events, it’s been 365 days and we’re still here—and we are going strong!
So how has it been? What was it like waking up everyday before 5am and meeting with a group of passionate, dedicated, and growth-oriented individuals?
Below, I share some of my learnings in leading the Rise Up! The 5am Club for one year:
It’s possible to form real connections during, and despite, the pandemic.
Leading the club has been an enriching experience for me. The pandemic may have limited face-to-face interactions, but I’ve gained so many friends and connected with a lot of people during this time.
There are members of the club who have become friends, members I’ve gotten close to, and members I’ve gotten to know so well. And then, I would realize that I have actually never met them in person! It’s amazing!
People will invest and wake up at 5am for the right reason.
I understand the club is not for everyone. Not everyone can and will wake up at 5am, but it’s humbling how many of our members have stayed with the club for so long.
As of date, we have 17 Risers (that’s what we call ourselves) who have been with Ru5ac since June 2020! We have a running total of 56 active members, and many of them are subscribed to the club for 1 whole year. We also have members from around the world—from the US, London, UAE, and so on.
Throughout the 365 days that passed, we’ve done so many things together, worked on many projects, and grown a lot. Today I am proud to be a Riser, to wake up at 5am, and to learn together with other dreamers and purpose-driven individuals.
People are willing to help—I only have to ask.
When I formed the club, in my mind I would be doing and running everything. I would be planning the content, preparing the deck, doing the tech presentation while facilitating our meetings, and so on. Imagine how it would have been like.
However, when I shared the idea within my circle of friends, some of them were more than happy to help. When I started, I had friends managing the presentations, and so I was able to focus on leading, sharing, and engaging our members.
As the club grew, we’ve had more and more members stepping up and volunteering to take part in various areas of running the club. We now have a team of tech specialists handling the creation of our videos and running our Zoom meetings, another team of content creators who plan out our monthly topics and content, and leaders of the different groups and the different projects we have in the club. It is these individuals, together with our supportive and devoted members, who keep the club alive and able to reach and bless even more people.
Today I’m thankful that I shared and asked for assistance. I am also blessed to know now that whenever I need help in the club, there are people I can count on… Which leads me to the next lesson.
People are built to serve, lead, and step up.
Rise Up! The 5am Club started with me, and then we had volunteers helping out in running the club. As the community grew, we created Accountability Groups or AGs led by club members who “take care” of their AG-mates. Soon we formed interest groups, starting with a bible study group called Bibliaral, a co-creators group called KaLikha, a fitness group called Aktribo, a Toastmasters group called the RiseUp Toastmasters Club, and very recently an entrepreneurs group called Entrepreneurs Circle. All of those in one year!
What amazes me is that all of these are led by members, and they are all volunteers. Finding value in the club, they now share in creating value and nourishing both club members and non-club members in their own respective circles.
In a span of one year, we also have members who published their books, launched their vlog channels, planned and launched their events, created livelihood groups within their communities, and simply developed into the best version of themselves, going out there to serve and inspire. The potential has been endless, and we’re claiming even more!
When I get out of the way as a leader, miracles happen.
In the course of running the club, there have been a lot of surprises, things I did not plan to happen that have happened—and what a blessing they’ve been to the club. I realize that I don’t always have to be the one directing the course of the group. I have allowed members to participate and contribute, with my guidance, in determining the club’s direction.
Sometimes I introduce an idea, and I let members take over and see where the idea will lead us. Other times, a member would approach me with an idea, and I’d allow him/her to go with it and take the lead—and I’m in awe at all that our members have accomplished as a group.
A few months into running the club, we developed our Ru5ac journal. We had a team who led the creation process, from conceptualization to printing. And, the main character in the journal, Pinky Porcupine, was actually a character developed by one of our members.
Another time, one of our club members approached me with an idea: developing our very own devotional with club members as writers. I let them go with it and, soon, we had a whole team of writers working. Right now, we have printed the first half of the devotional and working on printing the second part—and we are continuing!
Just very recently, we have been preparing for the World-Class Filipino Summit, a month-long summit this June 2021 that will bring together world-class speakers from various industries and areas of expertise and will talk about what it is to be world class. The idea was formed back in February when our topic was on going world class and we were asking each other how we can further share our learnings to people outside the community. One of the suggestions we received was this—to hold a World-Class Filipino Summit.
It was a seed planted, and now it is here. The entire club is taking part in this summit, not only as participants but as volunteers working in different committees—from events and program to marketing and sponsorships. The goal is to share the message, to bless others, and to grow together into being world-class Filipinos so we can create a world-class Philippines.
By getting out of the way and just giving space for club members to contribute, participate, and lead, I’ve been blessed to see our members transform and shine in the use of their own strengths.
Today the club is at 365 days, and we’re ready for more surprises. If you ask me how long I think the club will be here, I can’t give you an exact number of days. It could be another 365 days, another 365 months, who knows. As long as there are people looking for a space to learn and grow, the Rise Up! The 5am Club will be here.