Drop Ins: Liz Tran of Reset

We believe in the power of routines and finding meaning in the ways we sew comfort into our everyday surroundings. Drop Ins is a series that explores just that, taking a dressed-down look at the lives of people who inspire us.

Liz Tran claims she’s one of the most adaptable people she knows, thanks to an itinerant childhood that landed her in eight different schools while growing up. “Yeah, it was a lot,” she recalls, laughing. Well before Covid-19 hit, Tran had already showcased her ability to adjust to new conditions when, after having spent a decade working in the venture capital and tech sector, she launched Reset, a wellness practice incorporating meditation, mindfulness, Reiki, astrology, and coaching methods geared towards CEOs, founders, and other individuals in high-level leadership positions. As she explains, advising companies like Glossier, Grailed, and Benchling on scaling their businesses actually isn’t that different from using her intuition-driven skillset to work with CEOs on a more personal basis. 

When the pandemic forced the closure of Reset’s physical space in Manhattan, Tran found her knack for adaptability — same as everyone else — put to the test. As challenging and unpredictable as the last few months have been, some silver linings emerged, most especially: a newfound appreciation for greater work-life balance, and a set of healthier routines (including catching some serious zzzs). We checked in with her at home on the Lower East Side to see how she’s spending her non-sleeping hours, and why she’s headed back to school.

Your move from venture capital and tech to Reset, which is rooted in wellness, sounds like such a wild pivot—at least on the surface. Tell us more about that transition.

I’d thought about it as far back as 2013. I’d just gotten back from a year of traveling, including staying at an ashram in India for a few months. I recognized I really wanted to do something with wellness, because that’s such a part of my life. So I got to New York and started to get a business off the ground focused on meditation in the corporate setting, but then I just got pulled back into VC and the tech world. Then in 2018, one of my close friends was diagnosed with late-stage lymphoma, and there was a strong chance she was going to die. I was like, ‘I can’t waste any more time.’ On the material plane, everything with my job was fine. It paid well, was prestigious...but inside it wasn’t what my soul wanted to do, and the call just became louder and louder. 

On the material plane, everything with my job was fine. It paid well, was prestigious...but inside it wasn’t what my soul wanted to do, and the call just became louder and louder.
How have your past career experiences enabled what you’re doing now?

I’m an executive coach for founders of tech companies, and it feels like the perfect meld of the two worlds. They hire me to help them improve their performance, but I also have them meditate, think about their intentions, tap into their intuition. I always thought that the two worlds couldn’t co-exist, but working in business was really foundational for me. I have a decade of experience that I can leverage to point clients on the right course, but I’m also drawing on my intuition and tapping into that.

So there is actually quite a bit of overlap.

The reason I’ve been drawn to coaching business leaders is that who you are in your day-to-day life is not separate from how you show up as a CEO. If everything is a mess in your personal life, and you’re on the line and don’t know what your values are, that will trickle down into your company in a really tangible way.

The reason I’ve been drawn to coaching business leaders is that who you are in your day-to-day life is not separate from how you show up as a CEO.
Given the pandemic, how are you managing your business more virtually these days?

We had a physical space for Reset, but we closed it down; it’s completely changed my life. When I had the studio, I was rushing there every morning, teaching classes or leading workshops, and we always had night and weekend classes, too. And then I was always working on development, finding new teachers and clients...I had five jobs in one. The biggest shift from the pandemic was pulling that down and being really intentional. I feel really fortunate because if it hadn’t happened, I would have been stuck in a pretty bad cycle of workaholism.

There have definitely been some unlikely silver linings to come from this.

Definitely. My days have become so much more within my control. My husband and I bought a house on Vancouver Island in Canada, and we’re going to spend five months out of every year there.

How are you taking care of yourself these days?

I have a very rigorous self-care practice. I do movement every single morning when I wake up; I’ve been choosing it based on my menstrual cycle: the first half of the cycle, I exercise pretty vigorously with online classes that are more weights-based and cardio. The second half of my cycle, I do a lot of stretching and yoga. I love this book, Woman Code, about working within a woman’s hormonal shifts. We have about four or five different hormones that peak and recede every month to support our ovulation cycles.

Do you meditate?

I’ll take a few minutes between meetings every day — just take some really nice deep breaths to focus on drawing my energy back into my body, especially if I’m doing a lot of coaching and putting a lot of energy towards others. I’ve never been a person who slept very much, but now I’m the captain of the ‘nine-hour-a-night’ club.

So envious! How are you evolving as a business owner and founder yourself, in tandem with the work you do for others at Reset?

I try to read one self-help or personal-improvement book every few weeks. It’s my way of connecting to my spirituality and remembering that it’s not just about the grind of running a business and trying to get clients. There’s a broader purpose.

You mentioned on your podcast that you were applying to grad schools to pursue your Master's in writing.

During the pandemic, I was writing a lot because It was a way for me to process everything. Business was slow, we had just closed the studio space, and so I had the time. Honestly, I went from working in VC to starting Reset, then doing both simultaneously, and I never got a chance to reflect on how big of a change that was for me. I started writing, and these chapters started to turn into a memoir. 

When I was a kid I always loved to read, but I never studied it because I loved it so much. I always took the most future-forward, goal-based classes, whereas writing never seemed practical. I have a feeling—I don’t know where this will take me, but I feel it’s somewhere good.

Liz Tran was photographed (safely, from a distance) at her home on the Lower East Side on October 24, 2020 by Makeda Sandford. You can keep up with Tran's work with Reset over on Instagram.

Laura NeilsonLaura Neilson NYC-based writer, editor, and professional plan-maker.

Likes: Croissants, mail via post, and coffee in bed.
Dislikes: Emptying the dishwasher, wimpy handshakes.