Being an underachiever in an overachieving world

First published on Pulse by one of our amazing Digital Strategists, Kevin Mok. 


I’m sure there are a few of you out there.

You might have had a few too many drinks during your uni days.

You might have frequented a few too many parties.

You might have even failed a few too many subjects and gotten to the age where you’re almost too old to be an undergrad…

…But you always knew you had the potential to be better.

That was me over a year and a half ago. I was the definition of an underachiever.

To give you a bit of context, I am a digital strategist at a not-so-startup-anymore digital strategy agency, ntegrity. I currently lead all our strategic search-related work in both the organic and paid space. I also lead the agency’s business operations and development, ensuring that the business is able to maintain exceptional growth and continue scaling towards success. All this has been achieved in a matter of 16 months, with me starting as an intern and now working with a renewed sense of motivation.

So how did someone like me become someone like that? Hell, I still don’t really know. I regularly feel like I’m a giant fraud amongst a group of brilliantly talented superstars.

But alas, I think I’ve distilled this dramatic shift that has brought me to this point in my career (and my life!) to the following few points (I know you love listicles).

1. Take a risk

This is probably super cliché to say, but it’s so true. “You miss all the opportunities that you don’t take”…as someone much wiser than me would say.

A company like ntegrity was definitely not my first choice when I came out of uni (sorry Richenda!). It was still a small agency and starting with them was a risk simply because my future with them was so uncertain. I was like many other wide-eyed graduate students who wanted that shiny grad role at the likes of Telstra, IBM or any other of those big multi-million corporations…which paid grads very generously. Instead, I took a shot with ntegrity, after our founder Richenda, gave a thought-provoking and eye-opening presentation about the struggling marketing industry in Australia. She had inspired me.

So I decided to apply, not thinking much about it at first. Little did I know that this one decision would cause a monumental shift in my career trajectory and my entire outlook.

2. Be fearless

It is so important to be brave and step out of your comfort zone. Whether that be public speaking or pitching to a client (or even publishing on Pulse!). The way I see it is that the initial fear is the only thing that is holding you back. Once you overcome that first (and brief) moment of fear, you can achieve almost anything.

I got to experience this when our director, Richenda, went on maternity leave, which left us in a state of uncertainty. This led to me filling a hybrid role as a digital strategist/business development manager with our then-new strategy director (but brilliantly talented!) strategy director, Tony. Neither of us knew what we were doing, but we managed to grow business income by 183% for Richenda’s return. Now that was a scary experience!

So seriously, just give it a shot. You’d be surprised at what you can achieve.

3. Be resilient and learn from your mistakes

I’m the type of person that remembers all my mistakes. From that one time I forgot to send that email blast to the other time where my approach to a UX analysis was not quite right. There will be times in your career where you will be knocked back, pushed down or straight out rejected. The key is to understand that there will always be downs in your career, but with that, also comes the ups. So be resilient. If you’ve made a mistake, own it, and just move on. There are still so many great things ahead of you for you to waste time dwelling on your mistakes.

4. Find a workplace that encourages growth

This is probably a lot harder said than done. I am very lucky to have found a workplace that encourages me to be a better version of myself, every day.

It really comes down to having a workplace culture that allows you to freely grow.

That means being in a workplace that consistently supports and encourages you.

That means being in a workplace that allows you to take risks, be fearless and resilient.

That means being in a workplace where you feel safe to perform at your full potential.

I found all this with ntegrity and I feel blessed to finally get a glimpse of the type of person that I always knew I could be.


Kevin, and two of our other fantastic strategists, Emily and Hannah, have been nominated for B&T’s 30 under 30 awards, celebrating and recognising young talent in the marketing industry. You can throw them a vote in the ‘digital’ catergory (it literally takes 5 seconds) here.

About Us

Hi, we’re ntegrity, an award winning digital agency in Melbourne, Australia. We specialise in digital strategy, digital marketing, and training, and aim to operate as an extension of your team.

You can read more about our story and team or explore what we offer.

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