What would Victoria Beckham do?

What would Victoria Beckham do?

Busy is the new fine, or so I’ve heard lately. It used to be when you asked someone how they were doing in casual conversation, they’d say “fine.” Now the answer is more likely to be “busy.”

I hate Busy, the idea and the feeling. But I can feel it creeping up on me. This is a full time of year for most of us, and it just so happens that too many of my own personal and professional projects occur in the next six weeks.

It’s a good kind of busy—which is why I fight the impulse to use that loaded word. It’s the kind that (mostly) comes from having a full life of things I love to do.

But I can only cram so many things I enjoy into the next six weeks, and I’ve having to prioritize even more than usual.

When it feels like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, nothing makes me feel “busy”—like I’m spinning my wheels—than when I have a time-consuming task I don’t enjoy.

When that happens (and oh, did it ever happen last week) I fall back on a trick I read on Penelope Trunk’s blog a long time ago. (Note: that post is safe for work and family, but not all her posts are. By a long shot.)

As a spur to creative problem solving, I ask myself, “what would Victoria Beckham do?”

What would Victoria Beckham do? | Modern Mrs Darcy

You have to know what a ridiculous question this is for me. I have no idea what Victoria Beckham is up to; the last I heard of her she wore a stylish ensemble to Will and Kate’s wedding. I was never a Spice Girls fan. She’s not exactly my muse. (Although 5 minutes of googling shows she has some serious chops: she was just named Britain’s Entrepreneur of the Year.)

That probably makes the mental exercise all the more successful. When I’m having problems figuring out how to get everything done, I ask myself, “What would Victoria Beckham do?”

Trunk says this is really like pretending you have unlimited money to throw at your problems. If money were no obstacle in any given situation, what would you do differently?

Money is an obstacle, of course, and I don’t have options like “let the nanny/butler/chef deal with it” in my repertoire. But I forget about that, and ask myself what Victoria would do if she lost her computer file, forgot to thaw something for dinner, or realized her son’s pants were suddenly two inches too short.

What would Victoria Beckham do? | Modern Mrs Darcy

My solution probably doesn’t look a lot like Victoria’s at the end of the day, but just considering what Victoria Beckham would do helps me see things in a new light.

(Hint: my two most frequent answers to WWVD are some variation of “skip it” or “get help”—even if that help comes from a friend/neighbor/babysitter and not my hypothetical trainer/tutor/assistant.)

As far as problem-solving strategies go, this one’s a little crazy. But for me, it’s crazy enough to work.

(Disclaimer: I have friends and mentors and idols of sorts I look up to and ask for advice about the Big Picture stuff, and I recommend you do, too. But for out-of-the-box thinking, Victoria’s my girl. Although now I’m wondering if Jane Austen would fit the bill. How would she deal with my lost scrivener file?)

Do you ever ask yourself “what would _____ do?” What’s your go-to strategy for creative problem solving?

49 comments | Comment

49 comments

  1. Katia says:

    I love this! As a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn, I frequently ask myself, ‘What would Audrey do?’ It works!

  2. Deborah says:

    My go-to question is “What would Mom do?” My mom is a nurse, a neurotherapist, and counselor. She has a happy marriage, raised three kids, and has done the expat thing. I don’t always call her (nine hour time difference), but do often think, “What would Mom do?” Her answers are often the same as Victoria Beckham, with “Take a nap” throw in.

  3. Catherine says:

    I love this! I think I do this in various situations replacing the name with women I know (or don’t) depending on the situation. When it comes to parenting, I think about my friend Courtney, an amazing fellow Navy wife, mom to three, who went to nursing school while our husbands were deployed. When it comes to doing things I don’t want to do, I use my sister’s name. And when it comes to decorating, I wonder what Emily Henderson would do 🙂 I subconsciously use this as a way to gauge how critical these little tasks are to my day and how I’ll define success. And I’m with you – my answer is frequently “don’t worry about it!”

  4. Ana says:

    Ha! I was drawn in by the title of this post—how in the world does down-to-earth Anne relate to Victoria Beckham. You didn’t disappoint. Its a more light-hearted twist on my mantra of “if money can fix it, its not a real problem”, I think I’ll adopt it.

  5. Janet says:

    Too funny. I don’t know a lot about Victoria, but a few years ago when we were in England saw a comedy sketch based on the tv show Wife Swap where Victoria Beckham and Sharon Osbourne get swapped. It was hysterical.

  6. Jeannie says:

    Even before I got to the end of your post, Anne, I was thinking of my 50th birthday party back in April; we watched “Emma” and I had “What Would Jane Do?” written on my cake. (The movie “The Jane Austen Book Club” was the inspiration for that). I think in most of the instances where I’m feeling overwhelmed and undercompetent, Jane would probably make a cup of tea, read a book, or do some writing. I don’t like tea, but I do find that the other 2 options (while they don’t solve the actual problem) make me feel more energized and creative, better able to cope with the situation and put it in perspective.

  7. liz n. says:

    Ha ha! Mine is, “Okay, Meryl, what’s our plan?” I figure that if anyone can do anything in any situation, it’s Meryl Streep.

  8. Sarah says:

    Busy is definitely an idol for so many people. It used to be mine, until I got really, really sick. Then busy physically made me worse. Stress caused all sorts of neurological problems. Sometimes I wonder if some people, like Victoria Beckham are just born with a ton of energy, or if they are using stimulants. But, like you said, having hired help gives a person a huge advantage. However, it does take some success in the first place to get to a place to have that help!

  9. Anne says:

    Just googled Scrivener! Hope you find/recover it.

    I often think of Caroline Ingalls, though I’m not sure how well that works for me. 🙂 I like little mind tricks like this. They can flip you out of circuitous thinking.

    • Anne says:

      I did find and recover it (thanking my lucky stars I’m actually backing up my computer like a grown-up these days), but it wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend 90 minutes of my life. Sigh.

    • Liz K. says:

      When I read Little House in the Big Woods to my kids, I couldn’t stop thinking about poor Caroline Ingalls. Man, if my husband were like, “Shucks, there are too many people here in the big woods of Wisconsin, where I regularly leave you cooped up with three little girls in a 2-bedroom log cabin all day all winter. I want to drive you across a frozen river that’s maybe not-so-frozen so we can travel across the prairie for weeks on end!” I would probably kick him and his covered wagon out. And then there’d be no lovable series of books. I wonder if there’s any fan fiction from her perspective.

  10. Sarah says:

    I LOVE this! Like you, I don’t have a lot of interest in Victoria Beckham, but I actually admire her a lot. She has all those kids and she’s stayed married, which in her world, is quite a feat, while also being an astute businesswoman. I like the idea of “depersonalizing” a problem in order to think of it in a new way. When I get really tired or depressed or anxious, I ask myself what I would tell myself if I were my best friend. I tend to be very hard on myself and trying to treat myself the way I would treat my best friend has helped me be so much more kind to myself and actually find solutions instead of wallowing in despair. I also get easily overwhelmed by basic life conundrums (like how to get pants hemmed), and Victoria seems like she knows how to get stuff done. I’m going to start asking myself “What Would Victoria Do?” I love it!

    • Anne says:

      “When I get really tired or depressed or anxious, I ask myself what I would tell myself if I were my best friend.”

      That’s a great one!

  11. Stephanie says:

    I like this idea, though I must admit Victoria Beckham is one of the last persons I would choose to emulate. Don’t know why, but she just irks me. Never smiles. Doesn’t seem to have much of a personality. Seems to have no interest beyond looking good. Guess I do know why, though I readily admit I could be totally wrong about her! 🙂

    Anyhoo, I normally ask myself not what someone else would do, but what would the real me do…the me without any fears, hidden agendas, jealousies, emotional issues, etc. Not easy to do all the time, I admit. I also ask myself sometimes, what would God or Divine Source do. Again, not always easy.

    • Sandy says:

      Oh, Emily from Emily of Deep Valley?! 🙂 Yes!! Love the chapter Emily Musters Her Wits. All Betsy-Tacy fans should be sure to read this less well-known but awesome book by Maud Hart Lovelace!!! 🙂

  12. Hilarious! I always ask “What would Kate Middleton do??” Usually it is in a frantic situation where I’m desperately trying to appear poised while simultaneously corralling a toddler. Hah! I am no where near as graceful as she is! I usually end up saying (through gritted teeth), “At this point, Kate Middleton would hand off the baby to her freaking nanny!”

  13. Caline says:

    Love this! Such an adorable idea. I’m going to try this.
    I also hate “busy.” And I don’t think it can replace “fine.”
    “Fine” is polite, for strangers – I don’t need to tell you all the crap that’s gone wrong today. “Busy” to a stranger is rude – I’m so busy I don’t even have time to chat with you about my day! So I’ll stick with “fine.”

  14. Kim says:

    I love this! I have never wondered what VB would do, but I have used Ma Ingalls as a reference point. I also have a friend who has more children than I do, but always seems to have it all together, so I ask myself what she would do. And she once told me she asks herself what would Michelle Duggar do. I also like the mantra, “If money can fix it, it’s not a real problem.”

  15. Shay says:

    This was such a timely post! I read it and then my internet and printer went out. I took a deep breath, and instead of trying to spend the next 30 minutes figuring out how to fix the problem, I just went to FedEx, finished what I needed to do, and printed my items.

    I wouldn’t normally do this, but I was on a deadline, and this was the best solution for my time crunch. Thanks for reminding me to think outside the box!

  16. I defer to Cate Blanchett. What Would Cate Do? She really seems like the very last well-grounded actress. With amazing skin.

    There really should be another exercise: What would X do? And do the opposite, as in: What Would Russell Crowe do? as the anti-Cate Blanchett maneuver.

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