Creativity in the times of a pandemic: Three ways to ideate in challenging times.




“You cannot be an educator and an artist at the same time,” said a close friend. I heard this comment and snickered to myself. I had heard this many times before but became fed up with limiting beliefs that well-meaning tried to impose on me as a young adult. I decided to form an art collective at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst at the young age of 18. The student group Boundaries performed all over the Massachusetts region and was one of the most sought-after college performance groups in town. Unfortunately, this excitement for art and creativity would leave me as the “Real World,” called, and I harbored the words that shunned creative ambiguity to that of predictability.


Education was my passion that stemmed out of my first love for the performing arts. I started to teach with notable institutions, longing for additional opportunities to create. Over time I slowly subdued my creative interests (poetry, dance, theatre, song) and dedicated all of my energy to leading a predictable experience.

I did not realize that this would lead to 15-years of resentment. I have learned that deferred dreams can rob the soul of energy, motivation, and hopeful perception.

In 2007 I listened to Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity? As he mentioned the need for students to experience ambiguity, incubation, and introspection, I felt an inner voice reminding me of the ideas I had for creating meaningful moments. How could I sum up all of my experiences of heading to London, Paris, Gabon, Portugal, and Cape Verde in a manner that would be meaningful for my students? How could I merge my academic interests with those formative moments of dancing to hip-hop, singing Ella Fitzgerald, and finding clues to persistence as a scholar-practitioner? Ken Robinson reminded me to take ownership of my process. Indeed-we can step out of our box in efforts to ignite new aspects of our perception.


Challenging times can make or break us. We can look at the creative works of William Shakespeare, who penned King Lear and Macbeth amid a pandemic. To think that Sir Isaac Newton’s crafted the theory of l gravitation while the bubonic plague caused insurmountable distress is admirable. So how will we continue to stay hopeful as we migrate through these challenging times?

Step One: Schedule Time for Creativity

Do you like to sing, paint, or dance? Put on your favorite song, and dance like no one is watching! This is a great way to come up with new solutions to challenging problems.

Step Two: Tap Into Those Conference Notes

Many high-level thinkers have spent time attending summits, retreats, and masterminds. Find two-hours on a given Saturday to review notes that you took to get clear about your goals.

Step Three: Establish new goals for 2021!

We can have some INCUBATION and discover aspects of ourselves that we may not have had to think about before the pandemic.

Upgrade Your Goals

Consider joining us at the Upgrade My Life & Biz event. We want to help you kickstart your goals in 2021. We would love to help you to:


  • Identify the gaps between your now and future goals.

  • Leave self-limiting beliefs behind.

  • Jumpstart the tactics that you need to elevate yourself from where you presently are.

Dr. Allana Da Graca is the founder of Turning On the Lights Global Institute.

Take Action Today! Consider attending the online Upgrade My Life & Biz event this March to kickstart your 2021 goals. We would love to help you to:

  • Identify the gaps between your now and future goals

  • Leave self-limiting beliefs behind.

  • Jumpstart the strategies that you need to elevate yourself from where you presently are.