A Little More About The Value Of The QC....
From Patrick Wilkinson, Chairman of The Quarterly Compass
My story is full of experiences where I failed tremendously before I succeeded.

When I was growing up in the late 1960s and through the mid 1970s my family moved around quite a bit due to my father being in the US Air Force. I went to four different elementary schools, and my parents were divorced when I was nine years old in 1975. I began to drink alcohol by the time I was 11 years old with the kids across the street from our rented house in Hampton, VA.

A Bumpy Start

By 1978 my mother and brother and I had moved three times more since the divorce. So just after I turned 12 we settled in a small town in the countryside of Maryland just North of Baltimore. We lived in a 4 unit apartment house that had been converted from a grand old Victorian home. Soon after moving, I started to do what I always did in a new town; I went out looking for friends. The first guys I ran accross were some "skate rats" who had built a home-made skateboard ramp in the street. I began to run around with these guys, and as it turned out, they were what good parents would call "the wrong crowd", at least in retrospect the crowd was wrong. When I was in the middle of a bunch of guys who liked me and wanted to spend time with me, I was as happy as I could be in what I thought was the "right crowd." I suppose my burning desire at this point was to be liked by these other guys, no matter what the cost. My "accountability partners" were a bunch of like-minded and poor 12 to 18 year olds who liked to fill themselves with all kinds of substances that altered the mind. My mom worked a lot, so I suppose the alcohol and the drugs took us all away from the realities of being young boys with little fatherly love or positive male influence and very little adult supervision or direction.

At 14 years of age I was painting a barn for some extra money with a friend (and drinking buddy) who decided to check out the old dusty and rusty .22 rifle that was stored on a rafter where we were painting. His idea of “checking it out” was to point it right at the center of my chest and pull the trigger. It did not fire, and he said it “probably wasn’t loaded anyway”, but when he opened up the chamber, we both saw something that took our breath away. In that gun's chamber we saw a shiny new .22 caliber bullet just waiting to be fired. I have always considered it a blessing from God that the "safety" was on, on that gun, for my sake and for the sake of my friend.

In 1981, just after my 15th birthday, I was preparing to leave for a two-week trip to a Christian camp in Colorado for teenagers on the morning of July 6th. The night of the 5th, however, I decided it would be a great idea to get really drunk one last time before I left for the trip. I was sure there was not going to be any booze on the trip. So, before my mother got home from her night job, I guzzled down a bottle of alcohol that had been left in the basement of our apartment house. When she got home, I waited until she was asleep, then took her car and drove through town and out into the countryside at over 80 miles per hour. At 15 years old, with no driver’s license, and very intoxicated, I was just one bad decision away from dying or killing someone else. I believe God really wanted me to go on that trip, because somehow I made it home safely, my mother didn’t find out, and I left for the trip right on time the next morning. And that was the major turning point in my life.

 A picture of me leaving on the Colorado trip (July 1981)

At camp I had a blast doing the activities but also began to listen to the message each evening. The speaker for the week, a man named Lee, seemed to be speaking directly to me. He said "if you feel an emptiness in you, and you have been trying to fill it with drugs, alcohol, sex, and hard rock; then you are filling it with the wrong stuff." I was blown away, so I listened much more closely to the next thing he had to say. He said "you have a God-sized hole in your heart and it can only be filled with Him." Since nothing else was working (I always woke up feeling awful again the day after being drunk or doing something I shouldn't be doing), I decided to let go of my anger and frustration and let Jesus Christ take control of my life. I met a great new bunch of friends who would become my new group of "accountability partners." These Christian teenagers and adults had a harmony of thought; they wanted everyone around them to know that God fills all of the empty places inside of people. Good thing, because at that point I turned a corner and realized that this group of "accountability partners" was better than my old group. My new habit with my new group was getting together with them on a weekly basis to do a Bible study instead of going down to the cement factory rock pile down the street to drink alcohol to excess and throw rocks at empty beer bottles. While I did not understand it at the time, the principle of "accountability" was working quite effectively in my life.

When I turned 16 I got my first job at a craft store called Harrison's Wood and Wicker. I despised making the stuffed elephants, cutting fabric, and shellacking old bread for centerpieces, but loved driving the company van into Baltimore to deliver the goods to the downtown shop. And they paid me real money to drive that van, what an awesome feeling to have my own money. A year later I was working as a busboy in a local high-end restaurant after school until late at night. That was an amazing experience because I got to stay out really late, not get into trouble, and actually be productive at the same time. At the same time my relationships with friends were getting better, my relationship with my mother was getting worse. We did not see eye-to-eye anymore, in fact I was quite a bit taller than her now, and nothing she said or did mattered to me. As far as I was concerned my mother didn’t have much to do with my growth or success, and it only took about one year of being away from her while I was at college to realize she was EXTREMELY important to my success.

Of course the classic high-school desire to impress girls had a great affect on my life as well. I never would have gotten involved in any of the positive activities like the Christian group, sports, or working at the restaurant if I had not had the burning desire to impress the opposite sex. In fact, the main reason I went on that trip to Colorado was because I was going to get the two things I wanted the most. A girl who was attracted to me PLUS no parents around for 10 days! That experience was my first exposure to the concept of a "burning desire," although I didn’t know what that was at the time.

Time To Grow Up Quickly

Deciding to go to college was not difficult because everyone in my new "accountability" group was going. Majoring in Religion & Philosophy and deciding on a career as a missionary bush pilot was also the result of the influence of my group. I now had a burning desire to get to that place. While in college I worked in the post office delivering mail, and as a resident advisor managing the other 18-19 year old boys on my hall. In the summers I traveled and worked in North Carolina, Virginia, and Spokane, Washington, but just before my senior year of college, in the summer of 1987, I took a job that would change my whole perspective on the world. I took a job pumping gas at a service station. Talk about embarrassing and humiliating, it had just cost over $40,000 to get a college education and the ONLY job I could find was pumping gas. OUCH! I remember feeling like everything I had worked for, studied for, and paid for was just a sham. But, as I said before, this real-life experience taught me the absolute need we all have to "fail before you succeed." This was the beginning of my need to have a time management system in my life.

 Denny, Red, and Patrick (July 1987)

A Much Needed Kick In The Teeth

Upon graduating from college in the summer of 1988, and after interviewing for a month, I was verbally offered a job by the regional vice president of a national shipping company making $20,000 a year (a nice salary at the time) as a manager trainee (I needed to pay back my $12,000 in student loans). After waiting a month to hear where I would be assigned I called the man who had hired me who said, “there must be some mistake, you were never offered the job.” I was crushed, humiliated and very frustrated, and I had no fall back option. So I took a job making $10,000 a year at a small private school in Virginia.  All of my friends told me I was being “ripped off” and that I should get out of there. This simple and low-income job, however, was exactly what I needed to get re-focused, slow down, and get back on track with what my life was supposed to be about. I had gotten way off course and my burning desire to be a missionary had dimmed to a flicker. In this position as a “Resident Director”, I was back on track, got my private pilot license, and it led me to getting a similar, higher paying job at the college I had graduated from just a year earlier. “Those school loans would be paid off in no time” I thought, and after that I could head out and be the missionary I wanted to be.

A Completely New Direction

However, on the first day of my new job, I met a woman who would change my life forever. We worked at side by side desks for three years, dated, got engaged, got married, continued to work at the college for four more years, got a masters degree, and we had a baby girl. The burning desire to be a missionary bush pilot disappeared but was replaced with the much stronger and more powerful desire of being a great husband and father. I had a new "accountability group" (my wife, daughter, and soon my son) to hold me accountable for everything I had promised. But this time there was no room to adjust or change that desire, because it was already in reality. My thoughts were becoming reality right before my eyes.

At this point I realized that working harder and harder at my job at the college was getting me nowhere. I was now an “Academic Advisor” and I was the one who got there early, left late, kept all of my files straight, served my advisees well, and prepared and taught my “time management and study skills” class (this was where the idea of creating a time management system and the QC began in 1992). But if I had stayed there my income and advancement were completely out of my control. My "accountability group" members at work were good and well-intentioned people, but they had little control over their lives or incomes. I knew things had to change in order for me to excel, I just didn’t know what to do.

The Move That Would Change Everything

In 1995, my excellent mother-in-law, who has since passed away, said that she thought I would be “great at selling real estate” because she said I had a pleasing personality and there were “less worthy people doing it who were making a lot of income.”

So I left my secure 9 to 5 job at the college to pursue a career in real estate sales. A lot of people thought I was absolutely out of my mind. They said, “You have a home, a wife who stays at home, and a new baby, why would you leave the security of your job?” That was the largest risk I had ever taken, but it has been one of the most profitable and most energizing moves I have ever made. I even have a photo of the day I resigned from the college in 1996, holding my 9-month-old daughter in one hand, my resignation letter in the other, and a giant grin on my face. I was leaving a $23,000 a year job with benefits to go into field with no salary and no benefits. If I sold a house, I would get paid. If I did not sell a house, there was no income.

 My daughter and me resigning (April 1996)

While I did not know this intellectually at the time, I knew that leaving my secure job was better than staying at it and being miserable. I later learned that security in life is not the best place to be. The fact is that the most secure people on the planet are prison inmates. They live in Maximum Security Prisons! I discovered on my own that the opposite of security is FREEDOM. Freedom from other's telling me my financial worth through my paycheck. Freedom from others controlling my forward momentum through performance reviews, and endless interviews for new jobs. Freedom from having to "ask off" at lunchtime, and for vacations off.

One year after I got into the real estate business I met a friend who became closer than a brother. He was the man who held me accountable every week for everything I had promised myself in my seven major areas of life for 10 years. Unfortunately, we had a falling out over the running of a business we co-owned, and had to part ways. I may never get over the deception I experienced from the actions and words of my friend, but I do owe him gratitude for the positive direction I took with his original friendship. Life is not always so simple....

Since then God has brought me a new accountability partner who challenges me each week to accomplish my goals. I have attended seminars, listened to motivational CDs and Podcasts, read scores of books, and honed my skills for managing my time and balancing my life. And now I have, with God's direction, created and perfected the tool you have already read about called the Quarterly Compass® with ideas from all of these different sources. I use it myself every single day to stay on track in all seven major areas of life.

The ONGOING Results Of Daily Use Of The Quarterly Compass

I have been blessed with the QC, a wonderful system for accomplishing my goals and monitoring my progress. This tool has also allowed me to be held accountable for those goals and promises by my wonderful accountability partner. He meets with me once a week for over an hour and holds me to my promises. I would be lost without his guidance, insight and knowledge. For my life to take such a dramatic LEAP; from a rough kid with very little positive influences to a man who has the life of my dreams, something truly miraculous must have happend. I owe it all to Jesus Christ. From the people He has sent into my life, to the system of accountability He provided to accomplish great goals. While there has been a lot of hard work, learning, reading, and praying in the years since that hard lesson of working in the gas station in 1987, with the Lord's help all of it has paid off.

I’ve been blessed with two excellent children. I get to go out on “date nights” with both of my children each month, spend focused time with each of them almost every day, and tuck them both in with prayers each night. I have even been able to coach my son's lacrosse team since he started playing in 2003.

These talented and tough boys went undefeated in Spring 2009!

I have also been blessed with an incredible extended family. If you were wondering how things have worked out with my parents, then wonder no more. I now have a much better relationship with my mom and with my dad. We get to see each other on a regular basis every few months. As you may have guessed this situation is totally opposite of the way things were while I was a teenager. My excellent mother-in-law passed away in 1999, but was an amazing influence in my understanding of what family life was all about. My father-in-law remarried and has continued to this day to show me what family life is all about.

I've been blessed with an amazing woman! My wife and I get to go out on “date nights” once a month, plan our calendar each week, and spend lots of time talking each day. We share a common reason for getting up every day, taking care of our kids, loving our neighbors, and serving in our Church. Coming home each day to peace in my house with a like-minded wife is a blessing I know is straight from Jesus.

I have also been blessed with a great church, an amazing relationship with God, His Son Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. I'm able to spend every morning in “quiet time” with Jesus, reading His word, listening, and praying. I'm also able to lead a small group Bible study in my church each week. I am living proof that, no matter how bad the kid, a person can turn away from living destructively and begin to live with integrity. We should never give up on a youngster who, like me, has had a hard upbringing and who needs to know what TRUE LIFE is all about! God even led me to follow through on my burning desire of being a missionary by going on several short-term mission trips to Granada and Kenya.

Patrick, Bruce, Freddy (building church in Mia-Maihu, Kenya in 2006)

I have been blessed with solid business partners and now own and co-own several companies where I teach our staff members & associates the same accountability and time-management skills you get with the QC. I get super-focused on blocking my hours at the office working on organization (called "ON Time"), and with clients ( called "IN Time") so that I can take over 120 days of "OFF Time" every year. This allows me to take Saturdays and vacations with focused family time for my wife and kids. I even get to be home from work at a regular time each evening.

I have been blessed with great friends. In addition to meeting with my accountability partner each week, I get to eat breakfast with another great friend each week and have lunch with three other great friends each month. I also get to hang out with my small group guys from church on a weekly basis.

I have been blessed with a healthy mind and body. For 20 years I have been able run 7+ miles per week. Now I also work on core strength training three days a week. My accountability partner and I have made the commitment to each lose and to keep off over 20 pounds which we have accomplished. As I write this in 2009, I am at my most healthy weight in 25 years. He also has challenged me to develop my mind by reading excellent books and listen to uplifting podcasts for over one hour, three times a week.

And let me say finally that I do not take the credit for any of these things. This all has been accomplished by guidance from Jesus, by going through severe trial-and-error (much of which He allowed), and by having a specific mental attitude that He provided. You can do it too, if you will just apply your mind, use the systems outlined in the QC, and put your faith into action to move you to success in every area of life.

There is a long way left to go, and a lot of people left for me to help. I hope you will be one of them. Thank you for reading this.
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