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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Fatigue Prescription: An Interview with Linda Hawes Clever, MD

Linda Hawes Clever, MD received both undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University where she now serves the School of Medicine as Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs. She is founding chair of the Department of Occupational Health at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Clever was the first woman governor in the American College of Physicians.

She is also founder and president of RENEW, a special project of the Institute for Health & Healing, at CPMC. RENEW is aimed at helping devoted people maintain and regain enthusiasm, effectiveness, and purpose as they navigate the challenges of work and life.

Dr. Clever’s widely acclaimed book The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health and Life was published in 2010 and I was so excited to talk to her about it.

Shelly Rachanow: Tell us more about your book, The Fatigue Prescription.

Linda Hawes Clever: The book was born out of my conviction that you are important and worthwhile. You may have crushing pressures and troubles yet also have more resilience, courage, and resources than you think. The challenge is how to surface those so you can be enthusiastic, effective, and have meaning and joy in your life! As part of my work with the not-for-profit, RENEW, I asked people across the country and listened as they answered the question “How do you ‘renew’?” The book collects their answers and the results of other research. It offers profound yet practical ways to lift and focus your spirit and talent – along with your body, relationships, and attitudes.

Shelly Rachanow: So many people, myself included, often feel overwhelmed by all the things going on in their lives. What can we do to feel more revitalized and renewed?

Linda Hawes Clever: When you know your values, you can set priorities and do things that are central to your – and your dear ones’ – hopes and dreams. The fact is, you can’t Do It All, all the time. No one can. As you decide what to emphasize – body, soul, family and friends, outlook, learning – the frazzle drops away. . . if, of course, you can say “No” at the right time and in the right way :).

Shelly Rachanow: You organized a non-profit organization called RENEW. What inspired you to do so, and what is RENEW all about?

Linda Hawes Clever: RENEW helps people juggle work, family and community commitments and sustain their enthusiasm, effectiveness and purpose. It grew out of a terrible time in my life when I had to weather my parent’s death, my husband’s cancer (he is fine now!), losing two jobs, our home burglary and vandalism – among other things. My good friend, John W. Gardner, who had founded Common Cause and who wrote extensively on leadership, excellence and renewing, pointed out that this was the perfect time to put renewing theory into practice. With friends and colleagues, I started RENEW, which offers keynotes, workshops, seminars, Conversations Groups©, and teaches others how to convene Conversation Groups. We have a great time, doing what we do!

Shelly Rachanow: Tell us about a wonderful tool you use called the RENEW-O-METER.

Linda Hawes Clever: The RENEW-o-Meter is all about awareness, the first step in renewing. It is based on studies that have looked into ways you get and stay whole and healthy. You can total your points as you score yourself and see how much you need to renew. You can also notice which questions jump out at you. They may show where you need to start renewing – or where you are renewing and need to make sure you keep on. The RENEW-o-Meter is in The Fatigue Prescription’s Introduction and also on RENEW’s website http://www.renewnow.org/.

Shelly Rachanow: If there’s one thing readers can do right now to feel more energized, what would that be?

Linda Hawes Clever: Know that you are important and therefore that it is not selfish to take care of yourself. It is self-preservation so you can do the things you want and need to do.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Linda Hawes Clever: I would educate all people so they would use the safe water, healthy food, immunizations, and medicines I would make available to everyone worldwide. Imagine the fun--and the peace!--we would have.

For more information, visit:

RENEW Website: http://www.renewnow.org/

The Fatigue Prescription website: http://www.thefatigueprescription.com/

Email: renewjuggler@gmail.com

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