The last one standing

Eminem, who is one of my all-time favorite artists, just released a new song on September 30 called The Last One Standing.

One of the reasons that I love following Eminem is because he talks about the struggles of success and what it takes to endure regardless of the challenges we face. I consider him to be one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time.

Here’s the hook from the song:

Now you see me standin’ in the lights
But you never saw my sacrifice

Or all the nights I had to struggle to survive

Had to lose it all to win the fight

I had to fall so many times (oh-oh-oh)
Now I’m the last one standin’

I think entrepreneurship is a lot harder than most people who aren’t entrepreneurs realize. It takes an incredible amount of focus and sacrifice to not only survive but to thrive amidst all the adversity that is thrown our way.

When Eminem spits his verse at the end of the song, he talks about what it means to change and grow while everyone else is standing still.

There are a few bars that really stand out to me, and so I pulled out the ones that spoke to me (not in order) and added a few of my own notes in [brackets]:

Y’all say (what?), I’ve changed (huh)

Really, though? (Tell me), how so? (I got)

Even when I got kicked to the curb (yeah)

I got back up, flipped it the bird

[I learned] How to turn resentment and hurt

[into] an unquenchable thirst, in the simplest terms

But all you see is the fame and the millions

You don’t see the strength and resilience (nah)

So let ’em paint you the villain

Some of this just may be a symptom (yeah)

Of havin’ way too much income (mmm)

But when you struggled every day just to get some [money] (yeah)

Now all of this hate is a syndrome (yuh)

When [friends] can’t relate, and that stems from (what?)

Sufficed to say, with every sacrifice I made

It’s like I gave up my life to fame [success]

All the nights that I lied awake

Nights I stayed up to write and pray

Had to claw, scratch and fight my way

Just follow me, and I’ll light the way

You ain’t see the struggle to make it out of [Detroit]

Because I made it somehow look easy

In just a minute or so of the song Eminem:

– Clearly describes what it’s like to start with nothing and work hard to achieve your goals.

– He talks about how people say “you’ve changed” when you reach that new level of success.

– He talks about turning hurt and resentment into the fuel that can drive us towards success.

– He talks about how people can’t relate to us because they haven’t made the same sacrifices we’ve made as entrepreneurs.

This entrepreneurial journey is really freaking hard some days.


I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The impact that we get to make on our team members, on our clients, and the world at large is worth the sacrifice.

As my friend Alex Charfen says (I’m paraphrasing) “Entrepreneurs want to make an unreasonably large impact on the world, and they also want to make an unreasonable amount of money too.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Alex.

As entrepreneurs, we have huge dreams and we also want to make ridiculous amounts of money.

Guess what?

You can achieve both your big dreams and your outsized income…

…IF and that’s a big if, you’re willing to do what no one else around you is willing to do.

Last week I had a client and good friend ask me why I recommended the solution that I did to them.

It was an interesting moment for me because I wasn’t sure if I should share all the details of who I am and where I’ve come from.

Even though I wasn’t sure, I decided to trust my gut, and I wrote out a brief snapshot of my history as an entrepreneur.

I did this because I wanted my client to trust me, and more importantly, I wanted their project to be a huge success.

How long have you been doing this Gabe???

One of the things I realized as I wrote that email to my client is that I’ve invested over 100,000 hours in my craft.

Since I was 14 years old I’ve been an entrepreneur.

In about 30 days I’ll be turning 39 years old, and what’s crazy is that from the age of 14 years on, I was working full time (or more).

So for the last 25 years, I’ve been practicing, failing a lot (early on) and truly searching for what it means to be a successful entrepreneur and also a servant leader.

In my teens, I worked full time…

In my 20s I worked between 16-18 hours per day, seven days a week…

In my early 30s, I worked 16 hours a day 6 days a week.

And now in my late 30s, I’ve actually gotten down to a nice 40-45 hour-a-week schedule. I often take off part or all of Fridays too.

While working a ridiculous amount of hours doesn’t automatically equal success, it does allow you to log time and gain experience.

And for me…

I remember being a teenager and being in my 20s and looking around seeing that most of my friends didn’t really want to work that hard.

I felt isolated and misunderstood, but it was one example of doing what others were unwilling to do, just so I could make the impact that I wanted to make.

What have you sacrificed to get where you are today?

Maybe you had to work insanely long hours like me.

Or maybe you’ve invested a ton of money into your education or your business just to get to where you are today.

Whatever you’ve sacrificed so far, I want to remind you of a few things:

– You don’t have to keep sacrificing forever. Sometimes as entrepreneurs we get stuck in loops that no longer serve us. Being tough is good for some seasons, but more importantly, we need to be aware of when we need to adapt and change (and sacrifice or work less).

– There will be very few people who understand you (at least those who aren’t entrepreneurs) and that’s ok. I understand you. And so do the other true entrepreneurs around you.

– All that experience, and all your battle scars are what makes you valuable. So don’t regret your mistakes, and please, please stop being so hard on yourself. You can love and forgive yourself.

You want to know why I know you can love and forgive yourself?

Because you have someone in your life who you love and forgive even when they mess up. If you have the capacity to show that kind of empathy and care for that person, then you do have the same capacity to treat yourself in the same manner.

So today, wherever you are in your journey, remember that I’m in your corner, and I’m here to support you.

And I know that you can be the last one standing in your arena too:


To your success and stamina,


P.S. Today is the very last day to pre-order my book Atomic Words and receive all the cool bonuses that come with the crowdfunding campaign. So go ahead and check it out here if you haven’t already:

Any support you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

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