How to Apply LeBron James’ Michael Phelps Captions to Your Career


In the midst of yet another historic Olympic run, Michael Phelps is certainly drawing attention from people across the globe—fans and athletes alike.

Last week after Phelps captured Gold Medal number 21 (finished with 23 total Gold Medals for his career), one of the planet’s most iconic athletes—LeBron James—took to Instagram to show Phelps some love. He posted the below picture from the race, and challenged his 24.1 million followers to provide a caption for the photo.

In the post James suggested a few captions of his own. “Winners focus on winning and haters focus on winners. You can’t be successful always wanting to be in someone else lane. Maintain your focus straight ahead and let nothing steer u away.”

As you can see in the photo, Phelps is looking straight forward toward the finish line of achieving his Gold Medal victory, while at the same time the photo captured an opponent looking over at him.

In the spirit of the Olympics and James’ post last week, we think you can apply these three captions to your career.

“Winners focus on winning and haters focus on winners”

For a job seeker, this can simply be integrated in your routine by focusing completely on finding the job/career you want to have. In the age of social media and 24/7 transparency in other people’s lives, we all have to fight the urge to pay attention to every promotion and job change from our friends and followers being posted daily. This can cause us to not be settled in our own search or careers.

Instead, lay out your own career plan and attack it like Phelps is attacking his 21st Gold Medal in the photo. The other competitors in the pool do not matter, chase the only thing that matters—achieving the goal you set for yourself.

“You can’t be successful always wanting to be in someone else lane”

Yes, the grammar in this quote is not the greatest—but you get the point James was trying to make. For your career, you will always be tempted to “leave your lane” to do the job of other people around you. In some instances for the sake of company growth, you may have to. However, if you constantly find yourself out of your lane at work—chances are you are falling further and further behind achieving your goals.

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Listen, this is not to deter you from learning other skills while still doing your job. But if you find yourself doing other people’s work more than your own, how do you think that is going to reflect upon you at the end of the day? Your bosses will see someone else’s work done and wonder why yours is not finished. So, not only will you behind your achievement goals, but now you could be in trouble for not getting your work done.

“Maintain your focus straight ahead and let nothing steer u away”

There are always going to be distractions that come at you during the work day attempting to get in the way of achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Phone calls, text messages, meetings, social media, co-workers and much more pull us every which way and can take our eyes off the prize.

The key to being successful is to know when it is time to tune out the distractions and focus on winning. Phelps knows there is a time to celebrate when he wins, but he must tune out all distractions during his training and when the horn sounds to dive into the pool against his competition.

Just like Phelps, you too need to learn when to tune out the distractions at work. If you have an office door, close it. Own a pair of headphones, bring them to work and get in your “zone” by listening to a “pump up” playlist you created over the weekend. These may seem like simple things to do, but you would be surprised how much you can get done just by removing yourself from the conversations that go on around you in the office.

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