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Great Question

by Johanna Schnüpke

Introducing you to the power of asking questions one Great Question at a time. 

Monday, 24th of April 2023  

How are ALL the things?

What the question means to me:

What I love so much about the United States is that everyone – the cashier, the bus driver, the bodega man greets you with a “How are you, darling?”, “How is your day going, honey?” or “How are you doing today?” Some might say it’s superficial and people don’t mean it. I disagree. Does the bodega man mean it from the bottom of his heart? Probably not. But the act of asking a stranger how he or she is doing is already an act of caring and is everything but superficial. However, I get the point, if you are looking for a genuine response, “How are you?” is probably not leading to a genuine answer. Instead, my very dear friend Molly always asks me: “How are ALL the things?” I love that question. By adding the three simple words “all the things” Molly acknowledges life’s complexity and that we have more than one feeling at a time. Just because you are super successful at work and have healthy children doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to feel overwhelmed and exhausted about things that are going on in other areas of your life. We can be happy and sad, grateful and overwhelmed ALL at the same time.

By asking “all the things” Molly indicates that she wants to go beyond the small talk, that she cares, that she really wants to know how I am, in ALL areas of my life. She allows me to differentiate, to look at all the puzzle pieces and the bigger picture. It is an invitation for me to leave the one-note answers behind and to openly share the things that are challenging, despite all the good stuff that is going on. What is even more beautiful is what Molly does when I answer. She listens and listens and listens. For her it is not about giving me immediate advice. Instead, she asks even more questions, she gives me her full attention and she supports me. What an amazing friend I have. I love you Molly - for ALL the things.


This week, instead of asking “How are you?” ask a friend, your neighbor, your colleague, your sibling: “How are ALL the things?” and give them your full attention. See if this simple addition transforms the one-note responses into deep, meaningful answers. 


How are ALL the things? Share your thoughts and feelings with me!

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