stacked stones

Values guide our behavior and provide us with a personal code of conduct. When we honor our core values consistently, we experience personal and professional fulfillment. Recognizing our core values and using them to drive our decision making enables us to live our best life and feel great while doing it.

Each of us is unique in our core values. Determining your core values often proves to be difficult because it requires introspection and honest reflection. Core values are a collection of your personal experiences, trials, triumphs, and everything else that has influenced your belief system. If you think that sounds complex, you are right. The following are a few tips to help you determine your core values.

Take a Values Assessment

There are a plethora of quizzes and questionnaires available to help you determine your core values. The Values in Action Survey is regarded as the longest standing, most trustworthy questionnaire because it is based on over thirty years of research. It focuses on your positive traits rather than your negative ones and often leads people to recognize traits they didn’t know they had.

Why is this assessment necessary? It will help you not only determine your core values but also understand how those core values affect your life. For example, if you take the assessment and realize that a core value of yours is punctuality, it will become much clearer why you are irritated when a meeting starts late.

Explore Your Past

As helpful as assessments and questionnaires can be, you know yourself better than anyone. Take some time to reflect on your past as a means of determining your core values. What has been a consistent theme throughout your life? For example, do people constantly comment on your dedication? If so, this is probably a hint that dedication is one of your core values. Or, more negatively, have people commented on your lateness? If so, you can safely assume that punctuality is not one of your core values. While examining your past can be difficult, it is often the best way to move forward.

Watch How You Spend Your Time

After taking a survey and self-examining your past, you should have a good idea of what your core values are. The last step is to reconsider how you spend the hours in your day. If you routinely spend three hours a day at the gym, you can bet that health and wellness are a core value of yours.

Don’t make the process harder than necessary when deciding what your core values are. Such values are apparent in your daily life. You simply need to be willing to take a look at that life.


  • Lauren Irwin-Szostak

    President and CEO

    Business Processes Redefined, LLC

    Lauren Irwin-Szostak founded BPR in 2007 and has served as its President and CEO ever since. She is a highly experienced professional whose career spans over 30 years in the call center industry.   BPR has grown into a leading firm in the call center, customer service and receivables management industry. BPR services companies of all sizes in a diverse range of industries. With a competitive, results-oriented business model and a national network of experienced and trustworthy call center professionals, BPR delivers new levels of continuity and cost reduction for its clients.   A true entrepreneur, Ms. Irwin-Szostak launched numerous companies prior to BPR, including Strategic Advantage Associates Inc. (SAA), a holding company in the receivables management industry, and NCB Inc. (NCB), a full-service collection agency. SAA eventually acquired U.S. Financial Recoveries Inc. (USFR), and subsequently merged NCB into USFR. BPR has also served as an independent management consultant to call centers in New Jersey, New York, Louisiana and California.   Prior to forming her own companies, Ms. Irwin-Szostak served as the central legal manager for Capital Credit Corporation, for which she managed collection litigation for all branch offices nationwide. She also served as a senior business operations consultant for Integrated Health Services, Inc. in Hunt Valley, Maryland as well as a call center supervisor for The May Company in New York City.   Ms. Irwin-Szostak has paved an extensive career path, spanning a variety of professional services. No matter what challenge she takes on, her approach to business is built on a strong work ethic and pillars of mutual respect between her and her colleagues. As she often says, at BPR, “It’s all about the result” — from high-level company values like fair employment to day-to-day interactions between employees. This mindset has driven individual and collective success at each step of her career, and in turn delivered higher levels of success for her clients.   BPR is certified as a New Jersey Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (NJWBE) and by the Woman’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). BPR is also registered with System for Award Management (SAM), accredited by the Better Business Bureau and a member of ACA International and RMA International.