body positivity, career, dating, friendships, love, marriage, mental health, money

How I Leveled Up (Black Plus Sized edition)


It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I won’t bore you with a ton of excuses or insult your intelligence by offering anything other than the pure truth.

It’s a pandemic outside, y’all.

I prioritized my needs and wants during this time and blogging wasn’t on the list. Adri Speaks is undergoing a rebrand that I can’t wait to share with you. But as anyone who’s done this work knows, there’s a lot of work involved. Stay tuned, though!

Be that as it may, I have an exciting post to share with you. I know you hail from all around the world, with so many of my readers being from the UK, India, and South Africa, in particular. And in case you didn’t know…I’m a black woman. And for as long as I’ve run this blog, I’ve been adamant and passionate about elevating you in your career, relationships, and experiences. But unfortunately, I think that many women who “don’t fit the look” feel left out of these conversations. For you, elegance and luxury is something only accessible to thin women. Or nonblack women. Or “exotic looking” women. And to that, I call BS. It’s possible because I did it.

Here are 5 fool-proof and highly effective ways to improve your network, enhance your experiences, earn more money, and enjoy better relationships. In other words: leveling up.

  1. Identify your goals. As many of them as you want. When I made a decision to boss up, I read a ton of books and talked to people I admired about how they got started on their journey. Successful women, men I dated, people I work/worked with- all of them. Then I audited my goals by doing a really fun and comprehensive exercise. Here’s a free link for one here.

2. Address and remove limiting beliefs. A lot of us adopted beliefs about ourselves based on what family, friends, bosses, and/or boyfriends may have told us. I had an ex boyfriend tell me that I was fat and ugly and would never be anything without him. And for a while, I believed that he was the best that I could do. After we broke up, I starved myself, put up with really unfulfilling romantic entanglements, and mentally cut myself off at the knees. It wasn’t until I said every day that I AM worth the best, that I started to believe it.

3. Admit you need help and get it. No one is an island and I know that as black women, we are often encouraged to do things alone. That doesn’t resonate with me, any more. For many years, I’d work myself to the bone and then some. I’d call the shots in relationships because I was with men who weren’t capable of doing so. Reach out to professionals for help with mental health, fitness, style, career coaching, financial assistance, nutrition, etc. Ask a trusted friend to keep you accountable. Join support groups. Remember, having support increases your chance of success.

4. Elevate your friendships/connections. Finding likeminded women can be hard but it’s not impossible. Joining nonprofit organizations, professional networks, alumni groups, and social clubs are just some ways you can find women who are on the same page as you. There are “level up” Facebook groups but I would exercise caution. Many of them encourage harmful rhetoric and aren’t inclusive. One trick I’ve adopted has been to institute a “one year probationary period” for all new friendships. It may sound silly but it takes time to get to know someone. And so if you tell yourself that you’re giving yourself a year to determine if this person is a true friend, you operate in a way that’s safe. Too often, women get excited when they meet someone new and they start divulging deep secrets and personal information too quickly. Give yourself time.

5. Establish healthy boundaries through WIFM. WIFM = What’s In it For Me and I wish more women would be audacious enough to accept this principle. There is nothing wrong with centering your needs as you move through life. Don’t accept a job without asking “WIFM”. Don’t agree to a relationship without asking “WIFM”. And if something doesn’t feel right or you feel taken advantage of, establish boundaries so your WIFM isn’t compromised.

Bonus tip: Aim to be your best even if you can’t be your best all the time. By living authentically and intentionally, you will know that you can only do the best YOU can do. Bad days or moments are allowed. It’s the getting up that matters. It’s the progression that matters.

I hope you found these slightly unconventional tips useful. As a certified career coach and image consultant, I could give you tips on how to style yourself or ask for a raise (and I will in due time!) but the above strategies helped me in all areas of my life.

Check out the video for even more information.

Peace, love, and pandemically,


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