The Middle Steps: How to Win the Race of COVID-19

Many people just want this crisis to be over, and rightfully so. Getting back to normal is at an all-time high from a public demand perspective because normal is what helps us lower anxiety. While it doesn’t directly come out and state it, this article cites ways to reduce anxiety, and at least 6 out of the ten methods are centered around getting back to a centralized, normal state. Now, I’m not the first person that will stand out against the idea of “normal” as a goal in life, but we just can’t ignore the prevailing themes surrounding the needs of so many as it pertains to this pandemic.

So, what happens when we are out of sorts? We tend to rush back, as quickly as possible, away from whatever is troubling us.

It seems as though the finish line is never close enough, and we end up in an all-out sprint to get back to the place we used to be, or at least run away from the danger or discomfort that is plaguing us. Having our eyes on the prize is great! It keeps you focused on your goal. But what about the steps along the way? Are we paying enough attention during the midst of this pandemic?

Bolt was clocked at 9.58 seconds, and scientists estimate that it is only humanly possible to run 9.48 seconds in 100 meters.

In 2009, Usain Bolt set the current world record in the final 100 meters of the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany. No one has started and ended a race faster than Usain Bolt, and I know that there are billions of people that want COVID-19 to go away even quicker! Bolt was clocked at 9.58 seconds, and scientists estimate that it is only humanly possible to run 9.48 seconds in 100 meters. Now how was Bolt able to achieve this feat? Sure, he had to get out of the starting block well, and clearly needed to finish before everyone else. But Usain Bolt mastered what few have done, not just in Olympic speedrunning, but during the COVID crisis. Bolt conquered the middle steps. How have you and I stewarded the middle steps of our COVID race?

As I write this article, I am convinced that we are still in the thick of this struggle. However, so many are so focused on the crisis ending that they have made some critical errors.

  • They are living as if there is no crisis because they desire normal back.
  • They have become so relaxed, waiting on normal that they are not paying attention
  • They are so passionate about the end that they aren’t present.

Usain Bolt needed only 41 steps to run set this record. The next lowest number of steps was 44. Some would focus on the number of steps and not ask how it was possible, thus dismissing the learning opportunity. Bolt’s stride and length allowed him to keep his feet on the ground for a much shorter time frame than any runner in history. The energy he placed into his stride has been studied for more than ten years. A few questions to consider during COVID can be found in Usain Bolt’s middle steps when he broke the world record.

  • What is your current stride like?
  • Are you using your length to your advantage?
  • How are you grounding yourself? What are you grounded to?
  • Where are you placing your energy right now?
  • What are you studying?

Mastering the middle steps can be critical to how you run this COVID race. Do not be so focused on just finishing that you forget to run this race to the best of your ability. It is possible that your bottom-line results can be tremendously reduced because your middle steps were too short, lacked energy, and you didn’t pay attention, failing to study well.

Run strong through COVID-19!


Lyle Tard
Lyle Tard
Lyle Tard has recently completed a 20-year honorable commitment in service to his country and is now a retired United States Air Force member as of 31 January 2020. He has obtained his undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Arizona Global College and is completing his certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. As a communicator, Lyle has spoken worldwide inside and out of the military community. He has motivated young adults at institutions such as Atlanta Leadership College, Triton College, South Eastern University, American University, Georgetown University, Harvard Business School, and his alma mater, University of Arizona Global College. Lyle has consulted leaders in the city and federal government in Washington D.C. in organizational effectiveness and trained C-Suite level executives from coast to coast in companies like UST Global. Just as in his time with the Air Force, Lyle takes pride in leading the next generation of world changers. From universities to businesses to churches, Lyle's passion is to influence the world to realize that "Leaders lead best when they serve." Now, Lyle has taken all these skills into the world of coaching. As a graduate of the Health and Wellness Coaching program through Georgetown University, Lyle seeks to assist emerging leaders to become whole as a Life, Transition, & Wellness Coach. He currently serves as Operations Director with Critical Path Associates, an organization built to create pathways of legacy and success through leadership development, IT solutions, and organizational wellness.

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  1. Not even scientists are able to say when this emergency can be considered over. So I would say that there is no need to get one more reason for anxiety by focusing on “when it will end”. Also because it is all too evident that in addition to anxiety about health, then there is anxiety about the economic consequences. So the times of the return to the so-called normality (what will this normality be?) Are getting longer.
    I would suggest making the best use of isolation time by trying to react positively, constructively, effectively and effectively to the difficulties (personal, social, economic and political), starting immediately to plan measures for re-starting, introducing courageous choices and unrepeatable, at all levels, because this is what will be needed.

  2. Thanks, Lyle.

    Folks I know who are freaked out by this quake seem unable to be “here” for it. They’re still looking over their shoulders at what was or imagining that they can cast forward and make a picture of control.

    A good friend of mine said, “I’m so grateful for this pause.” She’s excited by all she’s better understanding about herself, gaining insight into what’s important. And what’s not.

    Thanks for your history and your metaphor. We need stories and frames to start the generative process, and paying attention is the best start. That, of course, only exists in this moment.

    Be good.
    And well.


  3. Well said, Lyle; Thank You! It is truly unfortunate to see so many potential victims rushing to get back to ‘normal’ while the silent carriers of the virus are lurking all around us, oblivious of the fact of this fact. I wonder where their analytical skills have eloped. While humanity as a whole is under the grip of COVID-19, there are crowds mobilized by careless individuals bent on destroying the gains made so far.

    You have rightly compared the quest for ‘normal’ to the steps leading to Usain Bolt’s World Record sprint. Of course, there are always steps in-between Start-and-Finish lines. So, how could we expect to get back to the pre-virus days without going through each step, keeping in mind all-the-more-important protection for all?