Lee Sweeten – “The sky is no longer my limit. My potential is completely out of the world”

Imagine finding yourself and learning who you really are at 45. After a tough failure on a project at his job, Lee Sweeten went to a psychologist to find out that he has ADHD Type 1, dyslexia, and other executive function disorders. Lee’s story, rather than being about success in a specific career or passion, is about success in personal growth and discovery. 

After losing his mom at the age of 3, Lee had always wished he had a relationship with his mom. Whenever he would remember his mom, he would tell himself that he wasn’t good enough and that’s why she left him, filling his mind with unrealistic expectations to achieve everything and be accepted by his mom. he thought that his accomplishments directly correlated to being loved, by anyone, and hence left no room for failure. This fear has been a huge driver in Lee’s life for the longest time and prevented him from trying new things and experimenting with new ideas.

After being diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at 45, Lee went to find answers to his diagnosis and the different ways to work with it. He found ways to overcome his focus and reading challenges and finally for the first time in his life, he understood what was holding him back all these years: he didn’t know who he was. After learning how to cope with his struggle with reading, he found a love and passion for reading. He read over 100 books in his first year and it only increased from there. He read all the books that he was not able to in his high school and college years. 

Through reading and exploring himself as a whole new person, Lee found his love for technology, solving problems, and helping people. This core passion became his guiding star as he set out to fulfill them. Now he says “The sky is no longer my limit. My potential is completely out of the world”. 

Now, Lee works as a delivery center manager at Accenture and teaches Isshinryu Karate on Tuesdays and Sundays for free in his hometown. Early on in his teaching journey, Lee was focused on learning more so he could be the best. However, he is now focused on the idea that the more he learns, the more he can share with his students and the world. He has taught over 600 kids, of which only 6 had reached the stage for a black belt. His love for helping others shines as he teaches Karate to kids and shares his passion for this art form with them. 

Throughout his journey of personal discovery, three things stood out to Lee: learning yourself, learning the world, and learning others. He says that the “ability to give is one of the most satisfying abilities in the world”.

My conversation with Lee was one of the most real and raw stories that I have ever heard. To be very honest, I was stumped on writing his story and portraying it in a way that shows the person he truly is. I didn’t know where to start or what to include, I just wanted to write everything. I never really put importance on learning myself. However, after speaking to Lee and hearing his story, I learned the importance of embracing fears and finding out their root cause to overcome them and shine. 

Learn yourself first. It will allow you to conquer the world. 

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