People who are particularly reactive to praise or criticism tend to be more other-focused in their work. They use up all their energy trying to look good until there isn’t much left for getting stuff done. These same people also tend to procrastinate because they often believe they are disappointing others. If you imagine a friend is upset with you, you might delay calling them back; if you imagine that your boss will be impatient, you might lie about how quickly you can finish a project. If you imagine that Grandma will be disappointed in your failure, you might forget all the times you’ve pulled off the same task with great success.
Counterintuitively, avoiding the people you’re worried about disappointing rarely mitigates those worries. Rather than distancing herself, I told Martha to mentally move closer to the people inhabiting her brain: her editors, her new girlfriend, and Grandma.