How many times have you asked yourself, “What is my purpose?”

Maybe you have felt as if you were not doing what you were meant to be doing with your life but are stuck in the “same old, same old” with no real idea what you are passionate about or why it even matters.

Creating a personal mission statement can be very powerful.

  • It can help you make decisions. If something is in line with your purpose you can say yes easily and if it isn’t, you say no without regret.
  • It can help you find a career that better suits who you are.
  • It can give you strength when things aren’t going great.

A life purpose statement is a touchstone, you can recite to yourself that should make you stand straighter with your shoulders back.

  • You don’t question or doubt yourself as much.
  • You extend yourself to others more often.
  • You have more courage.

But how do you come up with a life purpose statement?

This question got me wondering about my parents and grandparents. I wondered about who they were, the paths they had chosen and what their purpose might have been.

Then I started thinking about genetics and how we inherit things like a tendency towards certain diseases, bad eyesight or poor behaviors. But we also inherit the good stuff.

Could the good stuff actually be the stuff of which our purpose is made?

I thought it would be fun to explore this line of thinking and see if, perhaps, I might be able to create a life purpose statement out of what my ancestors did for a living and/or stood for that resonated with who I am now.


My dad is a retired teacher who donates a lot of his time as the President of his local St. Vincent de Paul chapter. A spiritual guy with a big heart who likes to have fun. I feel like I received my desire to teach, love of fun and spiritual pursuit from my dad.

My mom is a retired guidance counselor who spent 30 years guiding students and has offered advice and guidance to myself and my siblings our whole life. She is super generous and very easy-going.  Wanting to become a life coach has a lot to do with the idea that I might be able to guide and advise people like my mom has done for me.

My mom’s dad was a doctor, a healer. Not only did he serve his patients but he donated his time and talent to a large Native American population in Chicago. Though I have no medical training, I have the heart of a healer. I want people to be healed from whatever ails them.

My maternal grandmother graduated with a masters in English from Columbia University and wrote ads for Carson Pirie Scott and Marshall Field’s during the depression…she was creative. My creativity is one of my superpowers. I also am finding out that I love to write. Total surprise to me!

My dad’s mom took a train from Michigan as a young woman in the 1940’s, got her beautician’s license and set up shop with her mother-in-law. I’d like to think that I have a lot of that entrepreneurial courage in me as well.

Finally, my dad’s dad. He was a Detroit police officer for 25 years. His whole life was about service. I too am dedicated to serving others. If I have inherited even 25% of his quiet dedication and commitment to service, I believe I will be able to make a significant positive impact in the world.

Time to create my purpose statement. I have highlighted the aspects of my parents and grandparents that I admire and put them into a sentence.

My Lineage Life Purpose Statement is…

I am a creative teacher, guide and healer, who leads with courage, fun and an entrepreneurial spirit in service to others and the highest good.

I love this statement!  It really resonates with me. I feel like I can live these qualities in my daily life.

Side note: if you are adopted you can still use this exercise to create a life purpose statement. My husband Dave was adopted. What we know for sure is that both his natural parents attended Chicago’s Art Institute and were probably artistic.

His adopted dad is a doctor who is passionate about sports and is extremely kind. His adopted mom was a nurse who loved music and nature. She was always pointing out the animals in the yard and laughing at their silly antics. She read Ranger Rick with Dave and planned the annual trips to Canada to spend weeks fishing and being in the great outdoors.








Dave, like his adopted dad, loves sports and made it his career, as a sports writer for a local paper. If you follow him on Facebook, you know he is passionate about music just like his adopted mom (though his taste is less Mannheim Steamroller and more RUSH and Radiohead). Also, like his adopted mom, he loves nature and the environment. His concern for the planet can be seen as he picks up cans for recycling at Lollapalooza every year or bringing his own bag so he can collect plastic beer cups at Wrigley Field much to the embarrassment of our kids.

Dave is artistic like his birth parents probably were given what we know about their schooling.  Besides writing he is a fantastic amateur photographer.

His lineage life purpose statement could be:

I am artistic, creative, passionate about sports, saving the planet and playing my music loud!

Now it is time to write your Legacy Life Purpose Statement.

Action Plan:

Create a life purpose statement based on your parents, grandparents and/or people who had a positive impact on your life growing up. Fill in the blanks with something that you admired about people from your past: 

I admired my paternal grandfather because he was a                                     . 

I admired my paternal grandmother because she was a                                                 . 

I admired my maternal grandfather because he was a                                    . 

I admired my maternal grandmother because she was a                                               . 

I admired my father because he was a                                   . 

I admired my mother because she was a                                               

I admired XXX because he/she was a                                      . 

I admired XXX because he/she was a                                      . 

Take those qualities and create your own Lineage Life Purpose Statement:

I am a                    ,                               ,                                   who                                   ,                                and                                   .

How does that feel? Does it feel like it could be somewhat accurate? Can you look at your life today and see how you may be actually living some of these qualities already?  Have you been hiding a part of yourself that is reflected in your Lineage Life Purpose Statement? Is it time to bring it out of the closet?

How can you take your Purpose Statement more fully into your relationships, your work, or your life?

I’d love to hear your statement.

Please post on the Laurie Swanson Life Coach Facebook page and share your life purpose with the world!

*Lollapolooza Photo Credit:  Dave Oberhelman