Have you ever experienced setbacks, encountered challenges, or failed miserably? Struggled, made a poor choice, or taken a wrong turn? Said words you regret, missed an opportunity, wasted time?

Do I even need to ask?

If you want to lead yourself and others you need to keep life’s troubles in perspective.

Tonight I got a phone call from a friend I’ve known for a long time.

She shared a struggle, one I could identify with immediately. It’s a familiar story to me, one I’ve lived — recently, even.

While she talked, I listened, and let it sink in, a realization: this is the moment when that bad thing turns good.

Why? Because without that experience, I may not be able to listen without judging (something my friend needed.) I certainly wouldn’t empathize so closely.

When we share the wisdom we’ve gained through hardships, mistakes, or shortcomings with others, we redeem what’s ugly, make wrong things right. We infuse the dark things in our lives with a deeper purpose and meaning.

All those bad things — even the worst things — complete the picture of who we are. If we try to hide or ignore our imperfections and past mistakes, we may miss out on the opportunity to allow those things to be used for good in someone else’s life.

So listen for it, look for it. When it happens, let it sink in, the realization: this is the moment when that bad thing turns good.

This post originally appeared at Mountain State University LeaderTalk with the title “This is the Moment.” It is reposted here with permission. In the months since wrote it, I have had many more opportunities to allow my struggles, mistakes, and hard-won lessons be an encouragement to others. These are the moments when those bad things turn to good.

I choose to post this now because of two phone conversations I had yesterday.

Two very dear friends of mine are struggling.

I love them. I hurt for them.

Though their struggles are different, I know that what these two women are experiencing can be redeemed. Both women are strong. Both are surrounded by loving friends and support. And.. I know that even these dark times will be transformed into something beautiful in each of their lives.