My job demands creativity and speed, but I struggle with both. What should I do?

"I'm not creative enough and a slow learner," says an anxious newbie

Haya Malik

Dear Haya,

I'm a girl in my 20s and got hired for my first job a few months ago. By the grace of God, the job is great, but the only setback is that my job demands expert-level creativity and that too in a fast-paced environment. On the other hand, it feels like I'm not creative enough and am a slow learner.

What can I do to improve my creativity and speed?


An anxious newbie

My job demands creativity and speed, but I struggle with both. What should I do?

Dear anxious newbie,

Firstly, congratulations on your first job!

A first job can be truly special — we discover so many things about ourselves — an avenue to see and discover where our potential lies.

I see your concern about not feeling fully equipped to meet the demands of your job. I also see you undervaluing yourself and using negative language with yourself: "I’m not creative enough and a slow learner."

This language that we use with ourselves is a reflection of the way we show up in the world around us. If that’s the narrative you feed yourself, you will remain that way. Perhaps an alternate narrative could be, "I do not know everything yet, I am working on enhancing my creative skills."

No employer expects you to know everything on your first job, what they do expect is an attitude to learn. What you need to do is to equip yourself to the demands of the job.

Here are some ways you can do that.

Expectation management

You cannot manage to know everything on your first job, you are there for a reason. To learn and grow. Be open to saying "YES" to new tasks and learn to do them later.

Embrace learning

There are three kinds of learnings we invest in:

  • 70% through on-the-job training
  • 20% via interaction and feedback
  • 10% via trainings

Focus on each of these areas to enhance your learning curve.

Develop a routine

This applies to your personal and professional life. At work and before work. The way you spend your mornings dictates the rest of your day.

Time management

This will be the best skill you can master. If you can master your time, you can master your life.

Seek inspiration

You must seek inspiration from anything and everything — people, art, history, culture, education, travel. Exploration and exposure will widen your horizon and your learning curve.

Be a team player and collaborate with colleagues.

As this famous proverb advises: "If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.

Collaborating with others is one of the best ways to learn — you get to learn so much from one another’s experiences. Thinking we can do everything on our own is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves.

Ask for guidance

I cannot emphasise this enough. Don’t think or expect yourself to know any and everything. It is okay to not know and ask your seniors for guidance and direction.

Be open to feedback

When you have completed a task, be open to asking relevant stakeholders for feedback on your performance — be it positive or constructive. If it is positive great, if it is constructive, even better. Always remember, that it is constructive feedback that enables us to move forward, learn and go. Don’t take it personally.

I hope these tips aid you in your career advancement, and remember, it is okay to not know everything — this is the prime reason you are here. We all start from somewhere and the good thing is all the things mentioned above are all practices and skills, which can be mastered. We are not born with them.

Not knowing is not the problem, not doing anything to change that is.



My job demands creativity and speed, but I struggle with both. What should I do?

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.

Send her your questions to [email protected]

Note: The advice and opinions above are those of the author and specific to the query. We strongly recommend our readers to consult relevant experts or professionals for personalised advice and solutions. The author and do not assume any responsibility for the consequences of actions taken based on the information provided herein.