Living the Villa in 2015

Happy New Year! With the holidays behind us, I’m still waiting for that little surge of energy that stirs me to clean up, clear out, and make room for new ways of doing life. If you’re looking for some inspiration as well, here’s a story might spark some ideas:

A few months ago, we were on a teleconference call with a group of alumnae who had attended Chocolate Villa in the spring of 2014. “D” (short for Dianne) Surman reported that she had coined a phrase when she came home from the Villa to help her keep her goals, intentions, and the good feelings from her experience alive. She called it “Living the Villa.” D said her husband asks her (and she him) every day, “Are you living the Villa?” She explained it like this:


“It’s easy to let yourself drop below the line, or forget that you have choice in everything, or that you can only control what’s in your sphere of control—all those things we learned at Chocolate Villa. When you ask yourself if you’re “Living the Villa’, then you can practice something you learned to help you feel better, or take charge of a part of your life you need to manage more effectively.”

Staying connected to powerful experiences in our lives reminds us of our strengths and keeps us from dropping back into patterns that don’t serve us. Moving forward requires that we have clarity about what we want, and have the ability to create the energy to get us there.

From our observation, Chocolate Villa is a powerful, clarifying and energizing experience for most who attend. But maintaining the positive focus when you return to the routines of life takes practice and continued effort. We all need reminders and encouragement to live in the ways necessary to achieve what we really, really want.

We want to build on D’s inspiration and ask, “How will you ‘Live the Villa’ in 2015?” We want to know!

We’re going to challenge each of you to identify at least one way that you will “Live the Villa” in 2015, and declare that to our Chocolate Villa Community. Make a short video of your declaration, and upload it to our Facebook Page. Tell us:

  • How you plan to “Live the Villa” in 2015
  • How you will support others to “Live the Villa” this year; and
  • Who you would like to challenge to declare her/his “Living the Villa” goals with the Chocolate Villa Community.

Watch this video for more instructions and a sample:


Here are some ideas:

  • “I will choose to live ‘above the line’ every opportunity I get.”
  • “I will ‘power pose’ for two minutes every day.”
  • “I will reach for a new opportunity, even if I’m not certain of the outcome.”
  • “I will put down my phone, close my laptop, and spend quality time with my family every evening.”
  • “I will support and mentor other women who need my help.”
  • “I will let go of things that are not in my control, and manage only what is in my control.”
  • “I will speak openly about the ways men and women complement each others’ strengths at work.”
  • “I will take care of myself physically by getting enough rest every night.”
  • “I will stay focused on my ‘Big Dot’ goals.”
  • “I will practice saying ‘no’ by saying ‘yes’ to something that is more reasonable for me to manage.”
  • “I will talk with my manager regularly about what I want to achieve in my career.”
  • “I will ask for what I need.”
  • “I will speak with confidence, even if I don’t know all the answers.”

We can’t wait to see your faces and hear your inspirations to move us into this New Year. No need to dump a bucket of icy water over your head—just send us your declarations as soon as you can, and challenge your colleagues to “Live the Villa” with you.

Cheers to our best year yet!


Posted on January 17, 2015 .