Social Good

The Beauty of Gratitude: #PayItFourward with AT&T

Brian and Jillian - Cup of Charisma


Gratitude is a funny thing. We’re so quick to capitalize on every Hallmark holiday, but how often do we let our visceral emotions out for “just because” moments? If we’re lucky, we have at least one person in our lives who inspires us and makes us feel “full.” (Not one day a year for a Thanksgiving feast kind of full, an all-year feeling of a bursting heart.)

Gratefulness keeps you grounded—holding a mirror to the goodness of those around you is a powerful thing. There are so many perks that come with saying thanks—AT&T happened to pull a game changer. When AT&T launched its Pay it Fourward campaign for NCAA March Madness, I was compelled by their emphasis on the importance of appreciation. If you’re an AT&T customer in the Houston area, you’re invited to nominate a friend or family member who inspires you for a chance to win two tickets to the Final Four National Semifinal games or the National Final in a special suite at NRG Stadium. For all my sports fans, that sounds INCREDIBLE, right? Sixteen winners and their heroes are going to experience a moment born out of the ability to appreciate.

My early readers know that Miami was my first home, but Houston has my heart. Not to be cliché, but my boyfriend Brian is one of the most inspirational people I know and I’d call him my local hero.


Aside from guitar serenades and our weekly Netflix and cocktails nights, he was an important person to me far before we even become a couple. Brian was a professional trumpet player before we met. (His friends and family have even vetted that he was one of the best in the nation, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.) He decided to change paths and build something bigger, a project of his own, while raising his friends up with him. He set roots in Houston and started his own business, partnering with his close friends and colleagues at each location he opened. As if being an accomplished musician turned successful entrepreneur wasn’t enough, Brian decided to work on a passion of his and amazingly get his pilot’s license. Hang tight—this isn’t just a love letter to Brian, there’s a point here.


I wish I could sound less enamored, but he has taught me so many invaluable lessons that warrant sharing. I’ve learned that taking MAJOR risks (even when the uncertainty is less than pretty) is essential to thriving. Success isn’t achieved by comparing yourself to the person next to you—you set your own trajectory. You’re limitless; if you have the attitude that you can do anything, you most certainly will. (Doesn’t mean I’m about to jump in a literal pilot’s seat like he did, but you get my point.)


While Brian has been the quintessential self-made story, his giving extends far beyond his personal success. He coaches me through difficult situations, supports the work I put into my writing, eliminates my insecurities, and dedicates his energy to making me feel happy in our lives here. Plus, he never judges my sweatpants after 5 p.m. rule and provides unlimited amount of hugs alongside our sweet corgi. That’s a Houston hero if I’ve ever met one.

So here’s the truth: I’ve already won. I may have not won a set of Final Four tickets, but I’ve won a life with a person I’m proud of. That being said, this one is for you. I want you to win and celebrate the person who inspires you most at the Final Four game. So here’s my recommendation to get your head in the game and your gratitude flowing:

  • Start a gratitude journal. Writing one sentence a day to reflect what or whom you’re thankful for instantly starts your day on a positive note.
  • Keep your health in mind. According to Huffington Post, research says that gratitude has numerous health benefits and leads to better relationships. Forbes noted that gratitude makes you psychologically and physically healthier. I’m not making this up, friends!
  • Be kind to yourself. Showing thanks to others actually has the ability to elevate your self-perception.
  • Make it a practice to tell someone in your life “thank you” each day.

AT&T Pay it Fourward March Madness

Start the act of saying thanks and enter AT&T’s Pay it Fourward contest by Thursday, March 24, here.

Have a tip for saying thanks? I’d love to hear it—share your thankful tidbits in the comments below.

This post was a compensated sponsorship by AT&T. All opinions are my own.

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