Making a ‘silent impact’

MARSHALL – When he’s not interviewing athletes and supplying sports scores at KSTP-TV, Joe Schmit thinks about how possessing purpose, persistence and passion can affect our lives and those around us.

Schmit, who is promoting his book, “Silent Impact,” spoke to a full house at a luncheon Tuesday at the Southwest Minnesota State University Conference Center. The event was sponsored by the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, SMSU and the Legacy Foundation.

Schmit joined KSTP-TV in 1985 and has won 15 Emmys from the National Television Academy is also the host of TwinsWrap on 1500 ESPN radio.

He said people tell him he has the best job, but Schmit begs to differ.

“I have to speak to half-naked men in a locker room and get them to say something intelligent,” he joked.

He cited the time when he asked an athlete who was headed for the Super Bowl how he felt, and the football player said, “I can sum it up in three words – it don’t get no better than this.”

Along with athletes who are less than articulate or who make the news for negative behavior, such as Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong, Schmit spoke about people who “align their actions with their values,” such as Twins first baseman Joe Mauer.

While a star athlete for St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders, Mauer took the time every day to escort a blind student to “the cool kids’ table,” Schmit said.

Schmit interviewed that student later for one of the inspirational stories in his “Silent Impact” book. The man told Schmit that he loved Mauer as a baseball player and even more as a human being.

Schmit said people like the always-striving Mauer exemplify what he calls the “three Ps – purpose, persistence and passion.”

Under the “purpose” umbrella is living positively, he said.

“Get rid of the negative,” he said, whether it be words, deeds or even friends who complain about everything or who brag about themselves and their family.

When Schmit was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2008, he tried to maintain a positive attitude. When the woman next to him was waiting to receive chemotherapy, she said “here comes the poison.” Schmit made a point of turning it around and said, “here comes the good stuff – the stuff that is going to get me better.”

Schmit originally was told he would have to undergo treatment for two-and-a-half years. After psyching himself up and getting more physically fit to battle cancer – “my mission was re-mission,” he said – Schmit was told his cancer had stalled and he could wait and be monitored until he needed treatment.

With the progress in cancer treatments, Schmit said the wait was beneficial because instead of five cancer drugs over two years, he only needed a two-drug protocol over a period of six months.

“I’m not saying a positive attitude cured my cancer – I’ve lost too many friends to cancer to say that, but it didn’t hurt,” Schmit said.

Make your New Year’s resolution to “do away with negative traits” or build your positive traits even more, Schmit said. “Be more tolerant and generous – listen more than you talk, be more understanding. Be more patient.”

Schmit said we make a “silent impact” when we make a big impression by not trying to be impressive.