• Gina DiStefano

Do You Ever Wonder If You're a Fraud?

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Hello. My name is Gina, and I occasionally suffer from Impostor Syndrome.

Coffee, hustle

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor Syndrome, the idea that you’ve only become successful due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications, was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. They theorized that women were uniquely affected by impostor syndrome. An estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives, according to an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science. Impostor Syndrome affects all kinds of people: women, men, medical students, marketing managers, actors and executives.

Sheryl Sandberg, Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga, Ryan Reynolds and Tina Fey are just a few famous celebrities who have spoken in detail about how they have experienced Impostor Syndrome.

When this was first brought to my attention, I was utterly relieved. It made complete sense. Have you ever achieved something impressive, received great feedback and accolades, yet felt undeserving? Or worse, the pressure to continuously “level up” and the fear of not consistently delivering to the standards you’ve set?

There are several reasons being an entrepreneur can be challenging. The hustle, financial risks, uncertainty, and rejections can become very taxing. What no one really talks about is the emotional roller coaster we’re constantly on.

Words like “vulnerability” and “fraud” usually don’t come up, nor does talk about the feelings of isolation and self-doubt.

When I first started running my own business almost 10 years ago, I thought I had to be all-knowing. The “expert”, or smartest person in the room. Boy was I wrong!

What I had to be was vulnerable and honest.

I have found over the course of my career and expansion of my company, the way I got here was admitting my fears, doubts and insecurities. By sharing my truth with those whom I trusted, and had earned the right to hear it, I found I was not alone. 


Here’s where I hop on my soapbox…

I would define my personality as “politely aggressive”- a term I often coach others on how to be. Conversations that lack substance are of no interest to me. As a result, I go right for the jugular…In a polite way. In doing so, I get real, and people get real with me. Very. Real. So real, the majority of our conversations end with, “we should really get a group together to discuss this stuff!” Ah, yes, there is power in numbers.

Impostor Syndrome is normal. If you are a hungry, driven, entrepreneur, you will most likely experience this from time to time. I’m not saying I experience this very often, but when I do, it’s intense. I'm forced to go inside myself and fix the underlying internal problem. If you feel as though this is an issue for you, don’t panic! Use this to your advantage to release the lies you’re telling yourself. Speak up. Never be afraid of your own power, embrace it. 

Gina DiStefano

President & CEO

DiStefano Group


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