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 was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.