Sunday, June 25, 2017

One Little Note - One Blade of Grass.

Artwork Hannah Betzel for me, her big brother Billy Lowe.
Yeah that's me.   
Did you know that there are 88 keys on a piano?

Why is that important?   Because every note counts.  Without one of those notes, music wouldn't be the same.

Most musicians may know this but people often wonder that very question - how many keys are on a piano.  What you might not know is that one little note can completely change the sound of a chord, or a song, how it's interpreted, AND one little note can completely alter the DIRECTION of a musical composition.

When I was a kid, my family moved to Indiana for a few years and during winter months (we thought this was a joke but it's true) the smallest thing can cause a snow drift and during an overnight blizzard, that can happen all too quickly.  You wake up the next day and you wonder "WHERE DID THE CAR GO?  How in the world is this possible? I just brought groceries in last night and now the car is covered in snow!"

The image in this blog post was created by my sister Hannah, an amazing artist who has her own art and lifestyles studio in adorable Athens, GA.  Many people don't know that I trained in classical piano performance but Hannah has always loved my music and knew music was important to me. So, she painted ONE LITTLE NOTE and gave it to me a a few years back.

THOUGH I'VE ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC,,,,,,,    I've worked in health/beauty for 20+ years now. I used to manage a fairly large area for a global cosmetics company and prior to being hired, the brand put its potential employees and leadership through a highly regarded talent/strength assessment profile to see if candidates were the right fit.  This assessment sought to identify the candidates' top natural strengths. In so doing, it was able to identify the very behaviors each candidate would bring to the brand and whether those behaviors (and natural strengths) were aligned with company goals, objectives and daily business practices.  Needless to say, they knew me inside and out before I was even hired.  They also knew what to expect from me (or not) and they knew how to drive my performance further by honing in on these identified natural strengths and talents (I was given my top 6 and I was also shown how these talents were helpful to the brand).  Pretty cool stuff.

ONE OF MY IDENTIFIED NATURAL STRENTHS/TALENTS IS VALUES.  This is something that will always be because it's a core strength/talent and it doesn't go away.    We all have "values" in one way or another but what this particular assessment meant (corporately) was that I was completely committed not just to my work, but to company direction, company vision, and brand loyalty above all.  They knew my voice (one little note) would positively impact the brand whether I was on or off the clock.  As a side note, what I love most about knowing what these 6 strengths are - is that whatever showed up for the brand I worked for, will also show up for my brand Gloss & Toss today.  Brand loyalty to this organization was so important that when our sales associates showed up for work wearing a competitor's fragrance, they were sent home.  That behavior misrepresented our brand, its direction and risked lost sales in our fragrance category. One fragrance (one little note) could completely alter a day's sales efforts within each store.

We grow as professionals over time and nothing truly happens over night! I learned a lot during my corporate years and it has really helped me understand the importance of enhancing brand loyalty for my own brand and any shining light I can give to friends or peers along the way.  My sister's growth
Hannah Betzel Art Studio Athens, GA.
as an artist reminds me of some of my own developmental experiences while I've watched her art flourish.  I've seen her reasoning skills grow, I've been with her on shopping days researching paint brushes, sizing canvases, comparing color samples and yes - I've seen the receipts. I remember walking into her art studio for the very first time and I was so overwhelmed with tears and happiness that I couldn't even speak.  This was my baby sister, no longer a baby but a business owner driving a national brand.   From creating greeting cards on a computer as a kid to her overwhelming accomplishments as a professional in her craft, her artistry shines through and through and let me tell you, she leaves no stone unturned.

What really excited me was one of her (many) big breaks; a mural of her own artwork over a major freeway in Atlanta, GA commissioned by none other than the Atlanta Beltline.    Yes - that's my sister.  Yep - that one.  There were countless hours of driving from Athens, being sure her kids were taken care of, buying supplies and equipment, keeping herself fed, time management, and those are just the pieces that were evident at the time.  This doesn't even take into consideration her years of dreaming, years of hoping and praying, late night thoughts racing through her mine, and times when she probably wanted to "throw in the towel."  But there she was, an artist, a life long dream, and a major opportunity brought to life. Her art, her life's work, now displayed over Atlanta, Georgia.

Hannah began prepping her canvas (I suppose that's what artists do first??) and a couple days into her efforts, part of the working area was soiled by a local graffiti artist.  When I got the news my heart sank and for a second, my hope sank for my sister. Why in the world would someone tarnish a dream, and an opportunity?  Now this graffiti artist didn't know Hannah I'm sure and it was nothing directed at her personally but he had the opportunity to "promote or punish" and he chose the less admirable approach.  As an artist himself, you'd think he would have had her back knowing the blood-sweat-tears that went into his own journey.

This mural wasn't a one-day-gig.  It is something that would take her weeks to accomplish especially living in Athens and having to commute into the city to manage and master.  I was personally hurt, worried for her safety, concerned that her ego would be deflated and so many of her fans were upset to see someone else step on her work.

But alas, Hannah continued as only Hannah would and the mural was completed (see video below) and I must say IT'S GORGEOUS.  Not that I'm biased or anything but Hannah or Picasso?  Hands down - I'm #teamHannah all the way.  But then again, she is my baby sister and as mentioned earlier, I'm a die-hard (or is that dye-hard) brand loyalist.

So what does any of this have to do with the title of this blog?  What does One Little Note have to do with someone's dream?  What does a snow drift have to do with 88 keys on a piano?  It's easy.  If one little note can completely change the outcome of a musical composition, one paint can (one little note), one blade of grass, one little influence can completely alter our direction, or the outcome of our tapestry.  We don't realize the power of our voice, our actions and our influence.  To the small business owner - this is especially important.  I think I speak on behalf of my sister Hannah (and myself) when we would both agree - KEEP GOING.

So if you  have a friend or loved one who is an artist or who has been given "that chance" take a look at the journey, the challenges, and the little engine that could and go be their biggest cheerleader. Your voice and your "fanship" will contribute more than you know.  

Order custom Christmas ornaments (limited pieces)
each year from Hannah Betzel.  Production begins early
fall each year and they're gone by November
To my sister Hannah, I am so proud of you and your growth artistically, personally, and spiritually.  I am so proud to be your brother and I have a LOT to learn from you.  #teamHannah all the way.

Yours in beauty,


Atlanta Beltline Mural by Hannah Betzel below.

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