For the 6th time – Week #7.1

Hi rest of the world,

Training is going fine. Only 4 sessions this week: 44.7k in 2 rides and 16.6k in 2 runs. But this week, something was more important. Nevertheless I am satisfied because my times are improving as I beat my time on a 21k loop by 12 minutes.

The donation campaign also is going well. Thank you again for the support. I know that when you cheer someone up, it doesn’t feel like much but when you’re on the other side, it’s definitely a lot! So I’ll say it out loud: never stop encouraging me 🙂 I love it. Here is where the campaign is now at. And if you want to help, just click here.

Screenshot 2014-04-28 10.51.11


But once again, this week, something else was more important.

Before talking about it, I decided to start a new habit in this blog and share with you 2 additional secrets:

  1. This week, what did I do for the first time in my life?

I believe it’s important to often do something for the first time. On one side, it’s a good thing to always discover our world (and ourselves). On the other side, to do something for the first time and to feel like a beginner allows you to be more understanding and patient with people who are beginners in something you’re an expert in.

This week, for the first time in my life, I…interpreted a medical conference, I contacted some journalists to talk about my athletic project, I tasted a Korean alcohol and I received a message from an Ukrainian lady asking me for some advice before her public speaking contest (which she won! 😉 ).

2. This week, where did I fail? Where did I messed up?

As Robin Sharma says, if you don’t fail…it means you’re not trying much. In fact, I realized this week that I do achieve some nice things but that I may not be very adventurous in trying new things. My perfectionism talking…

This week, I met a girl I liked. I didn’t have any problem to talk to her and ask her questions…but I didn’t even think about asking her name 😦 This week, I accepted an emergency translation job. The next day, I woke up at 5am to work but at 9am, I fell asleep on my trainer 😦 This week, I went to a triathlon store to see some bikes. The clerk tells me: “What? You’re sponsored by Cervelo?! Tell me more! I am curious. Who are you?”. But there I promoted myself so badly. I put myself down on all aspects 😦

OK hors d’oeuvre is over. On with the main course now. As you know, this week was the:

France National Championship of public speaking

My two speeches are ready. My french speech: “Three words”. My english talk: “Nine point oh”.

This is why I would have told you during the days before the contest: “Everything’s good. Everything’s gonna be alright”.

However, my body screamed “STRESS” all week long! My stomach, my left leg, my teeth. I really need to improve on this. It doesn’t really affect my performance because once I am on stage, I am a lion; but the truth is that during the previous days, I also felt like a lion…but like one in a cage.

We are about 50 in the room. There is a workshop in the morning. The speaker tells us that when you approach a contest you shouldn’t think about the 50 sets of eyes judging you. What you should do is see yourself as an animal. Move like it. Feel like it. Stare like it.

She says that and boom, I’m gone…I’m a cheetah. My shoulders fall down, my neck gets longer and my eyes go left and right, as if I was wondering how I am gonna eat those people in the room.

During the last few weeks, I’ve been given great tips on how to approach a contest or any public speaking gig actually. I’ve been told that you should focus on the emotion you want to give your audience rather than on the words you want to say to your audience. I’ve also been said my speech’s introduction’s intensity should be the same as T1, the transition between the swim and the bike.

It’s 2:05pm. The contest in french starts. We’re 8 finalists and everybody is really good. I am speaking in 5th position. It’s time for my ritual. I go lock myself in the bathroom, like Eminem in “8 mile”, I am feeling Mobb Deep’s “Shook ones” sample resonates in my bones and I give my speech to the mirror one last time. 33 minutes later, 4 speakers are already done. Then, the contest chair announces: “Now please give a round of applause for…”

This is it. It’s T1. My head is rising out of the water. My triathlon dream fills up all of my cells. I run towards my bike.

“…Grégory Berge”.

This is where I turn to cheetah-mode, I slide towards the main alley, walk straight ahead, with a light step. I shake the contest chair’s hand. I am invincible. 50 people in the room? They’re mine.

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7 minutes are done. My speech is over. The audience reaction is awesome. I go back to my seat. Sit next to my friend who already heard that speech 3 times. I look at him and he only says one thing: “10 times better than other times”.

One hour later, it’s time for the english speech contest. We’re 4 finalists. I am speaking last, right after the lady who already beat me in the previous round. Strategically-speaking, it’s perfect. It’s the first time I am giving this speech. I wrote it 3 weeks ago. It’s all new. I thought about writing it after a friend asked me: “How did you become so confident?”. This talk is the answer.

Contests are over. Coffee-break now. Everybody talks to me. Some ask about my job. Some if I’ll go back to Japan. Some if I really want to go to the Olympics. But I mostly have the same kind of conversation with every body. I stay silent and listen to people telling me: “Yes I agree with you…As you said, I…Just like you, I…”. It’s unbelievable to trigger such reaction and to see how my message resonates with everybody.

2014-04-26 15.13.16

It is now 5pm and it’s time for the prize ceremony. I feel confident and serene because I did my best.

Results are given in reverse order. First, the 3rd is announced, then the 2nd, then the 1st.

The contest chair announces the results and no…I am not 3rd…no, not 2nd either.

Yes, I am France National Champion of public speaking 🙂

In this talk, I speak about my dream, triathlon and the Olympics. I describe exactly that moment where I’ll get on the podium, the color of the medal I’ll receive, the color of the tri-suit I’ll be wearing and which anthem will be played…

There, as the contest chair announces me as the winner and as I walk towards the stage, someone in the audience raises, comes over to the main alley and start singing the French national anthem:

” Allons enfants de la patrie 

Le jour de gloire est arrivé “

This is a first for me and I am teary. I don’t know what you feel when you hear your own national anthem but when I hear mine, I am transported. A few years ago, considering the number of countries I visited and the number of visa I have on my passport, I started thinking: “Which country should I represent at the Olympics?”.

I was thinking about the practical aspect, the level of other athletes…and I ended up thinking that actually, representing a country other than France wouldn’t be a problem for me.

Then all of a sudden, I asked myself: “When you win first place and get on the podium, which anthem do you want to be played for for you?”. And that was the end of the debate. French. I don’t want any other anthem than the French one.

For the 6th time in my life, I am France National Champion. #1, #2, #3 and #4 was in basketball, back in college. #5 was when my graduation thesis won the “thesis of the year” award. Now, here is #6.

Each has a different story. Each is associated with different challenges and represents a different stage of my life. Honestly, I feel something special for #4. I associate it with my courage, coming back after 3 ACL surgeries, and my love for my ex-brother in law who past away, because of cancer, 5 months prior to that. But I must say that #6 is somewhat unique because it rewards something I have in my heart. No physical skills. No professional skills. It’s kind of crazy when I think about it. It’s as if you were the world champion of kindness 😉 yeah, something like that 😉

It’s now time for the results of the english contest, where despite all my efforts, I finish 2nd, behind the lady who beat me in the previous round.

Right there, yeah, it kind of stings. I realize this english contest is now over and that I won’t go to the Worlds in Malaysia. Yeah, it stings.

But very quickly, the fire inside of me goes out. I realize the level I am at and that I am going to compete in a few weeks for the European Championship of public speaking in French, which will be held in Krakow, Poland. I am going to spend 4 days there where I’ll only have to focus on one moment: a 7 minute speech…in cheetah-mode. It’s going to be unbelievable. As Eminem sings in 8 mile:

“If you had one shot,

one opportunity

to seize everything you ever wanted,

in one moment…

Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

2014-04-28 14.28.59

This week, pursue your dream. You have one whole life to achieve it. Speak to strangers. Be natural. Don’t be impressed. Believe in what you love. Imagine yourself in 5 years. Be creative. Be courageous. Stop thinking.

Heiwa ( ” Peace ” in Japanese).

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