Search & Replace S04E02: Roozbeh Khoshniat

Roozbeh Khoshniat’s journey through the complex world of ADHD and mental health challenges is both harrowing and inspiring. Rooz’s story is a stark reminder of how misunderstood conditions can lead to life-altering consequences, yet also a testament to the power of transformation and redemption. Tune in to Search and Replace for an unflinching look at the struggles and triumphs of navigating life with ADHD and discover how one man’s journey to the brink of despair becomes a beacon of hope for many. 

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[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialists at Johns & Taylor. More information follows this episode.  

[00:00:09] Announcer: This episode includes sensitive material, including a description of an attempted suicide. 988 SUICIDE AND CRISIS LIFELINE provides 24/7 free and confidential support via phone or chat for people in distress. To get connected in the U.S., dial 988 from any landline or mobile phone. Their website is  

[00:00:37] Joe Taylor Jr.: What if you’re good at your job, but your boss decides that they just can’t handle you anymore? I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.  

[00:00:50] The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 9 percent of American children have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. It’s a condition that we’re still learning about, and it’s still fairly new to scientists. The first national study into ADHD was only conducted in 1997.  

[00:01:12] Life coach Rooz Khoshniat says he now considers his ADHD a gift, but it didn’t seem like much of one when he was younger.  

[00:01:20] Roozbeh Khoshniat: I never got officially diagnosed. The closest to the diagnosis that I think my parents ever got me was when I was around probably, like, 15 or 16 that I was like really failing. They took me to a doctor, doctor said he’s gonna give me some meds that are gonna help me remember stuff and calm me down and I’m going to get good grades. But I remembered it calmed me down to a point that I didn’t have enough time to finish it because I was like, so chill and relaxed. Right.  

[00:01:46] My mother, she was my kind of executive function, making sure that I’m doing the homework that I’m following through that I’m, like, you know, doing all the work that I need to get done. But I think in high school, she, she gave up herself, too. She’s like, I can’t do this anymore. And that’s when everything started falling apart. 

[00:02:05] Joe Taylor Jr.: Rooz discovered he could navigate the educational system by leaning on other aspects of his personality. Although his approach led to some unexpected side effects.  

[00:02:15] Roozbeh Khoshniat: I managed to graduate, pass through my bachelors and get two MBAs back to back. And corporate jobs were good. I was always a good presenter, good starter, right? We’re like great sprinters, but when it comes to longevity, I would always shoot myself in the foot because I was not flexible. I’m not good with planning. I was always playing catch up. So, either I would stay at the company for a short amount of time and I had to flee. Or I would get burned out and I had to just leave. 

[00:02:46] A lot of people think with, like, you know, when you have ADHD, you’re not smart. No, actually, you have a different ability. You’re very smart. You’re bright because you’re using your other senses, right? So you pick up material in a different way. Especially if it’s interesting. A lot of people think ADHD is about hyperactivity or, you know, lack of attention. That’s not attention. If it’s interesting, I’ll sit there and do it for four hours.  

[00:03:08] Joe Taylor Jr.: Rooz says that pattern kept repeating with some dire consequences.  

[00:03:13] Roozbeh Khoshniat: In 2019, I became suicidal. So, it was either stay and deal with being not understood with ADHD, HR not understanding ADHD. I mean, I was just, I got burned out twice. 

[00:03:26] First, at one of my companies that I worked for, it’s the first time in my life, the biggest fear that I had, I was let go. And when they let me go, they didn’t say, Oh, it’s because you’re lazy or you don’t know what you’re doing. It was that. You’re too much. We can’t handle you. You don’t have some of the experience that we want, and we cannot train you for that. 

[00:03:44] I got a job right after that, and that one honestly did not go that well. It only lasted a couple of months, and that’s the one that kind of put me in the hospital with the, you know, suicidal thoughts and planning and stuff like that. So, when I fell apart, I remember the last interview I did before I went to the hospital. 

[00:04:01] I went for a job interview. The guy’s like, why do you want to do this job? And I was like, I really don’t know. I don’t like my job. And he looked at me, and I’m like, you know what, this is it. Like, I’m done. Like, that was the clear  

moment, and I went to a college to take a test, which I should have done probably a long time ago. The first category that came, it was someone that wants to offer help, social worker, therapist, nurse, or a life coach. Now, I’m not going to lie to you, like, I want to, like, right there, oh my God, that’s my calling. No. The first thing that I said, I’m not going to go get another PhD or a master’s, but little by little, because I started looking for a coach for myself, the journey had begun. 

[00:04:38] Joe Taylor Jr.: As Rooz redefined his own mission as one of helping other people overcome their own struggles, he found a path to professional success that was surprisingly close to home.  

[00:04:48] Roozbeh Khoshniat: My wife is a therapist and there is a picture that she paid for, somebody drew. It’s three hands coming out of a swamp. I looked at that and I was crying because I was in the IOP. I said, I want somebody to help me get out of that swamp.  

[00:05:01] I made my mission statement to help people as long as they’re looking for help, as many people as I can, so they don’t have to suffer and go through the dark moments that I went through. When I get a client that tells me they found a job, When I get a client that tells me like, Oh, I passed the test. It’s a great feeling. Right? I do my best. I’m like a GPS. I guide people as long as they push the start button. Right? It feels great. It’s honestly the best feeling that I can have. It’s the satisfaction that I get.  

[00:05:35] Joe Taylor Jr.: Today, Rooz and his wife work together, navigating clients through a more traditional therapy program, and then into a coaching practice that helps them understand the strengths of their unique experiences. 

[00:05:47] Rooz notes that many of us, especially here in America, love to avoid seeing a therapist for a variety of reasons. But self-help books and self-diagnosis aren’t a replacement for working with trained professionals.  

[00:06:00] Roozbeh Khoshniat: ADHD is not a lack of knowledge and resources. We’ll go read, we’ll go and find it if it’s interesting. It’s a performance challenge. Right? Therapy and coaching is going to help you. And again, it’s not made for everybody, I understand, I’m not going to push to advocate like, oh yeah, but it’s something that you need to. I mean, if you’re taking the first step listening to these shows and listening to a podcast and trying to learn from it, that’s the first step because it shows that you’re interested. So you’re taking the first step, the next step is start to look for help. Right. And be okay to be vulnerable because you got to go out there and tell them what you’re not doing. So your coach and your therapist can help.  

[00:06:43] Joe Taylor Jr.: That’s Rooz Khoshniat from Heal and Thrive Psychotherapy and Coaching in Laguna Hills, California. We’ve got links to Rooz and his work in our show notes and on our website at  

[00:06:56] Today’s episode was produced by Nicole Hubbard with help from the entire Podcast Taxi team. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. 

[00:07:05] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns & Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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