Most people I talk to over 40 have one common complaint – it’s not the weather, it’s not the stock market or the economy, it’s not Facebook (well, it might also be Facebook).

Everyone over 40 wishes they had more energy.

Everyone over 40, who has kids, also wishes their kids would have less energy.

I guess that’s why our 20’s and 30’s are so awesome, it’s the only time in our lives when we have neither too little energy or too much energy.

Have you ever seen a welding torch? An acetylene torch used for cutting metal? It uses gases to create a very focused flame, almost like a laser beam. But when you first turn it on you have to adjust those gases to get the flame right, you have to adjust the fuel. Not enough energy means no flame. Too much energy means a big dramatic untamed flame. Neither one can cut metal. But if you tune the gas just right the flame goes from looking like a blow off stack, to a brilliant, focused blue laser beam of fire like the jet engine on a fighter jet. And just as with light, it’s the focus that allows it to go through the impenetrable.

As a former youth worker, I’ve had the privilege of watching many teenagers grow up to become adults and start families. I’ve also known lots of teens who carried around the label of ADHD. Almost universally they’ve all become entrepreneurs. And no one faults them for their abundance of energy anymore, because they’ve found both the maturity and the engine with which to focus that energy.

As with all living things, organizations require fuel to create energy. That fuel is found in people, ideas and revenue. However, our organizations need strong systems with which to metabolize that fuel, breaking it down into its fundamental components in order to create the energy our organizations need to fulfill our mission. One of the things that tends to happen when our organizations create too much energy is loss of focus. Losing focus is a vital sign that you don’t have the systems in place to handle all that energy. The vision or the mission wasn’t clear enough or granular enough to focus the energy into it. Another way of putting it is that your mission wasn’t sophisticated enough to handle that amount of energy. The problem is that a lot of energy, meaning the fuel spent to create that energy (people, ideas and revenue), will be wasted. It might look cool, it might create a huge fireball, it might even feel good but cut through the impenetrable it will not.

I’m not saying avoid taking in the fuel. I’m saying upgrade to a high-performance mission, over-communicate it clearly and consistently and you’ll find your organization is capable of focusing the energy on accomplishing the mission instead of just burning marshmallows.

– Chad Verity, CEO, Hölmetrics