Jonathan Stone | Crain's Las Vegas

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Jonathan Stone


Sababa Water is a socially conscious, one-for-one company based in Las Vegas. For every bottle of the alkaline drinking water sold, a meal is donated to a child in need in that community. The business has grown 350 percent year over year and feeds 1,000 children per day. So far in 2017, Sababa has provided over 150,000 meals to children throughout the United States.

The Mistake:

One of the biggest mistakes I've made is that I ended up taking things very personally.

I would spend so much energy trying to convince people about the importance of what we're doing and how childhood food insecurity is such a profound issue affecting the community instead of not wasting the time on that and moving ahead with people that get it. So I was spending more time trying to convert people instead of focusing on people who were supportive and giving them all my energy.

I wasted a lot of time on such small things like, we could have 1,000 positive Facebook comments but if someone wrote something negative I would take it extremely personally instead of really embracing all the goodness, all the wonderful and supportive people that are around.​

Don't spend time trying to convert people to share your passion when there are so many out there who do get it.

The Lesson:

Don't spend time trying to convert people to share your passion when there are so many out there who do get it and are good people.

I wasted so much time trying to get other people to have my passion and my vision, getting stuck in my own head instead of looking at all the greatness and all the kindness that is out there.

I finally started listening to others who said, "Don't take it personally." My partner Dawn Elyzabeth said, "Look, just work with the people who are good."

I could remember the names of every person who made a negative comment but couldn't remember any of the names of the 1,000 people who said positive things. I had to train myself to go back and focus on the positive feedback.

That one glaring thing would change my whole mindset. I realized I could spend hours on people who do get it and then be able to feed 1,000 children.

Since doing that my attitude has changed. I can go into a meeting and within five minutes it's either a yes or a no and it's done, I walk out. If you’re passionate about something and you believe in it, that's what you have to focus on.

Follow Sababa Water on Twitter at @sababawater.

Photo provided by Jonathan Stone

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