Paying heed to habit and taking Kerr of ourselves

She’s well known in tech circles for her focus and drive. But, perhaps lesser known, Jean MacAskill Kerr praises a wellbeing project at work two years ago for transforming her from “a total couch potato to climbing Ben Nevis in the space of 6 months”. She still continues to take on challenges and adventures, not least of which living a healthy life every day. So, we caught up with Jean to hear more about what inspired her to apply to TEDxGlasgow 2018.

Working at Cisco as a Leadership and Team Intelligence Consultant, Jean thrives on supporting teams to improve. Over the past four years, she’s worked as part of a team who have focused on delivering a completely new approach to HR. Given her journey, Jean often refers to “walking in the footsteps of giants”, but beyond the modesty there is some truth as (fun fact) her great-great uncle was a bonifide giant, standing at over 7ft 9 inches.

Jean Kerr

What is your idea worth doing?

Helping the audience understand the role our brains play in keeping us doing exactly what we’ve always been doing, simply because our brain likes a story that’s familiar – the fact that it’s not necessarily the best story for you is not of concern! By understanding all the physiological changes we experience when our brain is in fight or flight mode we can better navigate those moments of fear, which generally put us off from making a change but are actually those moments when we can truly make a difference for ourselves.

How did you come up with your idea?

By living through significant change over the past decade and in particular during the last two years I learned through trial and a great deal of error that the key really was understanding our brain and how it can control us. I had a breakthrough recently when I realised that in a form of “self-protection” I had developed a survival mechanism which involved numbing away any bad emotions or feelings – but along with those it also swept way many of the positive and joyful feelings too. This was what enabled me to ignore all the signals coming to me that there were changes which needed to be made – I didn’t hear the whispers!

How is your idea going to change the way we look at the world?

I would like to change the way people view the multiple approaches to change they may have taken over the years – we talk about past failures but, in reality, they are all past learnings. I also want to raise awareness around the day to day “whispers” we all tend to ignore which would allow us to make more proactive change which would potentially be far less traumatic.

Who has inspired you?

Dr Brene Brown has been a great source of insight into this topic and her work helped me reach one of my pivotal insights.

Very critical in my change journey was also Jessie Pavelka (a former TEDxGlasgow speaker nonetheless) who coached me for 6 months from couch to the top of Ben Nevis but most importantly provided me with tools and a framework to keep doing the work every day, not just for a one-off challenge.

Who else are you excited to see at TEDxGlasgow 2018?

I’ve admired Kirsty Wark for years so I’m excited to hear her talk! Having seen Phillipa Waller in action before I know her session will be fascinating and energising too.

Jean and our 19 other TEDxGlasgow 2018 speakers are now entering the final couple of weeks before they get up on that red carpet and share their stoies. We can’t wait to here more!

Tickets are very limited now, so make sure you gets yours here before it’s too late.

  • Written by Cat Leaver
  • Posted on May, 20 2018

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