I’ll never forget my mom making the announcement to her teenage children that we were all going to memorize a quote that she had found. The quote was ‘Attitude‘ by Charles Swindoll. Almost like Moses coming off of Sinai, this was the new law!

In ornery teenager fashion, and probably a sigh that shouted ‘yeah right’, we responded with “That’s a pretty long quote, Mom.” Our attitude about her new request was condemning evidence that we really could benefit from her request.

Later that year, it was nearing the Christmas holiday when my younger sister Brittney came up with an idea for a Christmas present for mom–inspired to some degree I’m sure by our low-budget. She said, “Why don’t we memorize that quote and then also give it to her in a frame?” More out of being cheap than being noble, I agreed. My brother Jeremy, on the other hand, who was more ambitious and had a budget and a heart to spend it on Mom, thought our idea was lame and insisted on buying mom a sweater.

Fast forward to Christmas morning and my sister and I, in unison, began to recite, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than…”

With tears of joy streaming down her face, I realized that we had hit the ‘I couldn’t be more proud of my kids jackpot’.   We had given mom what she really wanted. We had listened to her voice, not the voice of our own .

There is an obvious business application in all of this… From a friend, mentor, and Portland area business owner that has built an insurance company trending toward $1B in annual revenue, his simple, yet profound advice, “It’s amazing what happens when you give your customers what they really want and need.”

And on this topic from the CEO of a near billion dollar Portland based manufacturing company, he said, “We call that–finding the voice of the customer.”

What do your customers really want. What do they really need. Now go give them that. Therein lies the secrets to massive success and fulfillment.