Mill deVoto, a white Andalusian horse, changed the course of Jan Shaw’s life.
Shaw is the founder of The Success Alchemist, a marketing, website development and life coaching business that combines her 24 years of corporate IT management experience with spirituality.
She recently joined the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce.
Shaw grew up in England and was drawn to horses from childhood even though she didn’t grow up in a “horsey family.”
“I think I was a horse in a previous life,” she said. “I always loved them and my mother couldn’t understand it.”
She saw an ad for Voto in 2003. He happened to be in the same stable where Shaw boarded her other horses.
“That was a game-changer for me,” Shaw said. “He was my dream horse, (but) within a year, he had a complete emotional breakdown.”
Voto was an affectionate horse, but he was extremely dangerous at times due to past trauma and abuse. A horse whisperer from the Redwings Horse Sanctuary told Shaw that Voto would most likely kill her. His problems made him unsaleable. Shaw’s options were to rehabilitate him or put him down, which she said she wasn’t capable of doing.
“I am a very analytical person, so if I have a problem, I will research and research,” Shaw said.
While investigating natural horsemanship (abuse-free training methods), she came across a book, “Tao of Equus” by Linda Kohanov. The book follows Kohanov’s spiritual awakening through her experience with a black mare. The book guided Shaw as she worked with Voto.
“This horse became my teacher from the experience of healing him,” Shaw said. “I learned about the nature of fear, manifestation and building his confidence. I use this analogy a lot with clients.”
Like she did with Voto, Shaw focuses on her clients’ self-esteem as a means for business success because she said business is 80% mindset and 20% strategy. She combines the idea of living one’s life purpose to match their professional aspirations.
“We get this inner pressure we are not doing what we came here to do. I suppose it is a bit like a midlife crisis – when people start to change their path,” Shaw said.
Shaw experienced that pressure herself. She said it wasn’t until she reached her 50s that she had any real sense of self-worth. Her experience with Voto led Shaw to investigate other parts of the metaphysical realm. She was pushed to rely more on her intuitive side.
“The difference between me then and me now is like chalk and cheese,” she said.
Shaw held a seven-day Festival of Enlightenment in Estes Park in 2011 which eventually led to her landing in Bayfield. She also hosts Cosmic Creating Radio Show and has written multiple self-help business books. Her website says some of her clients refer to her as the “people seer” because of her ability to easily identify their inner blocks.
“I’ve always been drawn to hot bloods – the sensitive, highly-emotional Arabians and thoroughbreds – horses that lacked confidence,” Shaw said. “My mentoring is the human version of what I was doing with my horses.”