I recently started reading George Kohlrieser’s (2006) book Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance. The book utilizes the author’s experience working as a police hostage negotiator to explore the emotional states present in hostage situations. Those emotional states can reflect emotions people experience in being held “hostage” in their day-to-day personal and professional lives. Per Kohlrieser, the key to surviving a real, or imagined (hostile boss/ coworker), hostage situation is overcoming the feelings of hopelessness and bonding with the hostage taker. Another important factor in successful navigation of hostage situations, real or imagined, is knowing what drives us. Kohlrieser (2006) states “most people are driven by fear or by avoidance of pain. Only a few are driven by benefits” (p. 21). In challenging environments, if we only focus on avoiding fear and pain we are likely to feel powerless and be taken “hostage”. However, if we focus on potential positive outcomes, we will feel empowered and greatly increase our chances of survival and growth. Kohlrieser explores the roles an individual’s mindset and language play in learning to be driven by a situation’s potential benefits. Do you pay attention to the language you use during challenging times? Are you able to “choose” your mindset? If so, what steps do you take to that end? Kohlrieser, G (2011). Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.