10 Questions

10 Questions with Maureen Werrbach

 September 30, 2020

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Hello, I’m Uriah from Productive Therapist, and this is 10 Questions with the brilliant but humble Maureen Werrbach from Urban Wellness and the Group Practice Exchange. Enjoy.

Hey, this is Maureen Werbach, owner of the group Practice Exchange and Urban Wellness. I’m super excited that Uriah asked me to do 10 questions. So I’m on today to talk about the answers to the 10 questions that he has for me.

So what is your name and your job title or license type? So my name is Maureen and I’m an LCPC in Illinois and I have a few job titles.

I own a couple of companies, a group practice in Chicago so I’m the CEO there and therapists there.

I also on the Group Practice Exchange where I do group practice coaching for people. And so I’ll say I’m a coach in that.

And then I also own group practice builders with a business partner, friend of mine. And that I’ll say we call each other kind of the hosts. So we run a conference each year for group practice owners and we host it.

What do you love about your job or business?

So what I love the most is two things (I’m thinking here as I’m talking, I decided I’m not prepping ahead of time, so you’re going to get my raw, unfiltered, literally thinking through it as I’m going through these questions, thoughts).

So what I love about my job is two things.

One is the flexibility it provides in the creativity that I get to have in the position.ย I really enjoy being able to pivot. And my brain is always going one hundred miles an hour, so I like that I get to kind of work creatively and go from one direction to another and shift focus if I want to. It really works for my brain, so I love that.

But the other thing is I love the ability to have a larger impact. And so with all three of the businesses, it’s not just about me which I love. I created some things that allow me to bring on people that can help me create a larger impact in the communities.

So with my group practice, we have about 40 therapists, which means that we can help more people in the community, reduce stigma, and help people feel their best.ย And it goes beyond just me doing therapy, which I love.

And then with the coaching, I get to help other group practice owners create their vision and create larger and lasting change in the areas that they’re in, which is amazing to me. So those would be the two things that I love most about the businesses that I do have.

What are one or two things that you always do in the first 60 to 90 minutes of your day?

I do what I shouldn’t do, which is most of the time, I check my phone. Oh, it’s the worst. ๐Ÿ™‚

Everything that I read says it’s bad, I know it. And I almost wanted to lie on this and say I get up and do some yoga or something. But no I don’t, I do exactly what they tell you not to do, which is I turn over and look at my phone and see if anyone texted me, if I have any emails,ย I check Facebook. I do all the things I shouldn’t do.

Every once in a while, like once a week, I force myself not to, and it’s so hard!

Ideally, I would get up and work out what I do now as I get up, I look at my phone and kind of delete things. For those of you that know me, you know that I hate seeing the red numbers showing how many emails I have unread or how many messages I have unread.

So my main purpose for checking that in the morning is literally just to get rid of those numbers, not because I’m super curious about it. Afterwards I after I get up, I go for a walk to Starbucks and that’s kind of my morning routine.

Ideally, I’d be getting up, working out a little bit, taking my morning walk, and then looking at my emails. But as of right now, that is definitely an area that I need to focus on more. I suck at it and it’s the area where I’m not the greatest entrepreneur/business owner. ๐Ÿ™‚

You know, they have all these books and articles with, like the top three things that the most successful business owners or entrepreneurs are doing, and usually one of those top three things is not checking technology when they wake up. So, a goal of mine. But, you know, maybe in 2021. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your go-to drink or snack for productive energy?

Mine is my mocha frappuccino during the summer months, and in the winter months, it is just the hot mocha. I’m pretty consistent. I don’t take a lot of risks when it comes to food and drink. So I always get the same two things, and it’s literally the same thing, either hot or cold.

What does a very productive day look like for you?

I’ll say Mondays are my most productive day and it’s my favorite day of the week because I feel like I accomplish a lot.

But for me, what’s most productive is when I know what I need to do and I’m able to get those things done.

I know it sounds so basic, but like many entrepreneurs, I feel like if I’m not writing down the things that I need to do in my business that day, I tend to be scattered.

I tend to have do things kind of halfway and have a handful of tabs up where I’m answering an email, while also writing a blog, while also putting together a presentation or whatever it is.

But I kind of have my hands in a bunch of things at once and not really fully engaged in any one of those things.

That’s like my least productive type of day because I feel like I end the day with having half done everything, but not fully finishing one thing.

So what’s most productive for me is when I actually make a list for myself for that day of three things that I need to get done. And then I usually list out a couple of extra things that are bonus things that if I feel like I still have energy in me to go beyond those three things, I keep going.

And I find that when I turn everything else off, I put my phone down, I play some music, and focus on one of those things at a time.

I know such basic information, but to me, I’m most productive when I can knock those things out and check them off my list and have them out of my mind, that’s my most productive day.

What is your favorite way to rest and recover?

Again, for those of you that know me, you’ll probably say I don’t rest and recover much.

Which is something that I’ve been thinking of working on, on top of like the hundred other things that I can work on, but I’ll say, you know, at night, for the most part, I get to a point where I’m really just tired and my brain wants to shut off, and what I’ll do is watch Netflix or Real Housewives.

Something that gets my mind completely off of work, my life’s to-do list, my kids, all the things that are happening in the world, and just the things that I did to check off in life that I haven’t yet done.

I really feel like when I watch TV late at night or read a book, my mind can really get out of the entrepreneurial mindset and I can just be present in the moment, not worry about work.ย And so that’s when I feel most rested and recovered.

I will say, last week we just bought a summer home in Saugatuck, Michigan, on the lake. And I’m really, really hoping that this is going to be a space where I can really rest and recover!

The Internet really sucks out there, or at least where the house is because there’s a ton of trees around the space. So I’m hoping that I can actually get some rest and recovery happening out there, too, because it’s sort of forced on me with the Internet not working so well out there.

Are you a Mac or PC person, and why?

I’m a Mac person, everything is Mac. I have an iPhone, MacBook Pro, everything is Apple.

I don’t know why. It started, I don’t know, a ton of years ago when the first iPhone came out. And I just liked the feel of it. I like the way the MacBooks look. And now I feel like it’s habit.

I just automatically go to the next level of Mac or iPhone or Apple product when they come out. And I’m not really thinking through it.

Uriah, you’re going to probably be annoyed with that answer because it’s literally the least tech answer ever. ๐Ÿ™‚

There’s no rhyme or reason to it other than I like the user experience. I like the way the interface is. And I just don’t look at what the PC has going on when it makes its updates, because I’m just in a mode where I’m comfortable with Mac.

I think it does everything I needed to do, so I don’t switch. So, maybe a boring answer or not a very technologically-savvy answer, but I’m a Mac/Apple person all the way.

What is one of the best business books you have read?

I mean. I read at least one business book a month, so there’s so many that come to mind.

I will say for what I do the most of, it would be Radical Candor. It’s a leadership book, and I feel like that’s one area that I have had to focus on a ton. Leadership wasn’t something natural to me.

So when I started my business in 2012e, it was one area that I realized I needed a lot of work on and is something that I focus on a lot and I’ve grown a ton in.

And Radical Candor, it’s by Kim Scott, is a really great book at learning how to be radically candid in your communication as a leader with your teams, with your staff, and just in general with people.

And I love the concept of what it means to not be radically candid, and how when you’re not honest and open and direct with how you feel and what you’re thinking in business, you can actually make the work experience for your team worse.

So essentially, instead of not having candid conversations that might be uncomfortable, which that was kind of my baseline was to just not talk about things that were uncomfortable, if I didn’t like what someone was doing, I would just let it go and move on, that I actually was perpetuating the system of not having them grow inside of my workplace.

And so Radical Candor, that book was really helpful in getting me to a place where I was able to have uncomfortable conversations, where I knew that the purpose of having those conversations would be bringing us both to a better place as colleagues, as people working in a business.

And so I really love that book. If I have to pick one, I’m going to pick that one!

If you were a hot sauce, what would your spice level be?

Well, I am, personality-wise, not spicy, if that is what this question was meant to kind of signal, but I also don’t love spicy things food-wise, so I would say I’m probably like maybe a 3. So I don’t know, think what you want to about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then lastly, where can people find out more about you and what you do?

They can find me at thegrouppracticeexchange.com, and they can find anything they need about me or get a hold of me through there, or the Facebook group, The Group Practice Exchange.

Bonus question. What is one of your best tips for success and happiness?

For me, it’s prioritizing time alone.

I found that in an age where we’re on technology and constantly connecting with people, that being able to have time where you’re alone and able to be in your thoughts has really been helpful for me, which is why I take my morning walks always by myself.

And it’s a time where I can just decompress where there’s no expectations out of me, there are other people needing anything from me.

So I feel like it sets my day really well and is a super important aspect for all people, whether it’s going for a walk or doing something else, but really being able to be OK being alone for some amount of time, and using that time well to rest and recover.

For me, that ability to be able to be alone and do what I need to do and not have other people interjecting or having to take care of anyone else for some amount of time each day has been really helpful for my own sanity and ability to be really present when I am with my kids or am in my business or I’m with my spouse.

So that would be my best tip for success and for happiness.

All right. I hope these questions were helpful and entertaining to you. And again, thank you Uriah for letting me come on and do these ten questions. Have a good one!

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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