So often in business we are encouraged to follow the latest trends and bright ideas. We feel obliged to go along with something new for the sake of it. And we do this despite our misgivings that it doesn’t feel right and can take us away from getting what we really want.

I had this experience when I was 8 years old.

It was the annual Riddlesdown Residents fancy dress party at St Edmonds church. A friend of my Mum’s had a brilliant idea, why not dress up as “Boots have branches everywhere” from their latest adverts! How clever and witty!

Helen Green with a branch tied with boots

This is a re-enactment of the crime! I didn’t have a photo of me in my fancy dress outfit as a child, so I recreated it.

Of course my Mum leapt at the idea. She saw how easy it would be. All she would need to do was pick up a branch, borrow some babies booties and tie them to the branch. Then she could use my Brownies tights and brown t-shirt. Easy peasy! And it would mean she had more time to work on my brother’s costume, because my Mum’s great idea was to dress him as a post box.

Photograph of a traditional round red post box

This is the type of traditional round red postbox my brother dressed up as.

I actually don’t think I was even asked what I thought, and I just went along with it.

So on the day, we got ready and I remember feeling a bit of an idiot. Wearing saggy old brown tights and a t-shirt didn’t feel fully dressed. But I don’t think my Mum thought anything of it, as those were the days when we did PE at school in our navy blue knickers! This wasn’t seeming such a great idea.

At the church hall every time I opened my mouth it was to explain what I had come as, because no-one knew: and just like when you’re telling a joke, you know it’s not good when you have to keep explaining it.

We all had to walk round in a circle, one behind the other, to be judged, surrounded by the parents and relatives, all looking at us. It felt like torture, and I had already had enough, when I noticed my brother the post box had stopped. He was collapsing in more ways than one. The sellotape and staples hadn’t held and his sides were coming apart.

This is me and my brother Robert. Fortunately for me, we haven’t got photos of us in our fancy dress outfits.

So like a good sister, I went up behind him and put my arms around him to hold him together and we shuffled around in joint torture. The parents were all pointing to us, ah aren’t they sweet. We didn’t want to be sweet, we wanted it all to be over and for people to stop looking at us. Eventually it did end and to add insult to injury we didn’t even win!   

Looking back at it now, I wish I had told my Mum I didn’t want that costume and that I had asked for something I felt more comfortable in.

Now in my business I really test things to see that I feel comfortable with it.

And I share with the people I work with that it’s really important that the way your brand is portrayed fits with your personality, your values and your identity.

So next time you feel you are being corralled into something and you don’t feel comfortable, make sure you say so. Many of my clients feel awkward being on video, but they feel the pressure to be on video and it doesn’t work for them. So with my Brand Story Photofilms I am able to offer them an alternative, where there is no video camera and I hand-hold you through every step of the way, to get a result that really expresses your brand.