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Google Digital Garage - Belfast Launch

ollie and fred at Google Digital Garage
ollie and fred google digital garage Belfast

I spent a lot of time at Google Garage Manchester before I set up ollie and fred, doing lots of courses and learning new digital skills.  Social Media Strategy, Introduction to Digital Advertising, Writing for Social Media....I signed up for everything! 


As well as learning lots of new skills, the Google Garage also helped me grow in confidence.  I remember blushing when I asked my first question but after a few weeks in a safe and welcoming environment I started to feel more at ease.

In November 2019 Google asked me to attend their launch event at the new Google Garage in Belfast.  They invited me to sit on the panel to talk about my experiences and the story of ollie and fred.   I remember feeling nervous when I read the email because although I felt more confident, talking in front of a room full of people (including the Mayor of Belfast!) was massively out of my comfort zone.  I had to do it though as it was such a huge opportunity and I felt so proud that they'd asked me to take part.  

I was all set then I discovered that I'd lost all my toiletries (including all my make up!)  and contact lenses at Manchester airport earlier that day, and I didn't have time to replace the items before I was due at Google Garage early the next morning.  It wasn't the start I wanted but in a funny way I think it made me relax and just get on with it.

Before we started, Belfast Live asked me if I'd do an interview with them and minutes later I was having a microphone attached and being told not to look directly at the camera.  I didn't even have chance to think about what I was going to say.  Feeling comfortable with video is one of the hardest things I've had to conquer. I have forced myself to get on board with video and I usually have time to check, redo, and check again before I post them on social media but I knew I wouldn't be able to check this video.  Letting go of that control was hard but it's very empowering too.  The video has had over 13,000 views to date and although I don't feel comfortable watching it, it doesn't bother me that it's out there.  You can view it by clicking on this link.

The day went really well and I felt very proud of myself afterwards. I still find it uncomfortable talking to large groups of people and being filmed but I'm much more confident than I used to be.  It's not that I've got better at it, I'm just more comfortable with allowing myself to make mistakes, and giving myself that freedom has changed my mindset for the better.

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