This past weekend I took a mini-hike in a pocket forest near my  house and discovered the  arrival of spring Trilliums. They always seem so mystical to me – drawing me in with their white or purple petals, but yet feel somewhat foreign and untouchable. 

As a child, when we would go walking or playing in the woods, my mother was always very clear about not picking the trilliums. We could look, admire, but we couldn’t touch. They are beautiful flowers of the spring, but the story goes that if you pick them, they will never grow back. That’s sad for a little kid, and sobering to an adult, as we read about plant species disappearing. I guess the hope is that everyone’s Mom told them the same thing, and we can protect these special gifts from Nature.

Then I started to think, maybe it is just a myth. So since curiosity is my middle name, I looked it up. Here is what Wikipedia told me:

“Picking parts off of a trillium plant, flowers, stems, can kill it, even if the roots are  left undisturbed.  Picking them seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like leaves below the flower  from producing food for the next year, killing the plant and ensuring none will grow in its place.  Some species of trillium are listed as threatened or endangered.  In the US it is illegal to pick them in Michigan and Minnesota.  In New York it is illegal to pick the red trillium.  I also learned that it takes about 15 years to grow a trillium from a seed.  All the more reason why these are so precious."     

So Mama was right. Leave the trilliums alone! 

As I closed my browser, I started to think of things in our workplaces that should remain sacred and not messed with. There are so many different work cultures and environments,  but here are a few practices, that I think are certainly worth not touching:

1. The opportunity to make mistakes. We find powerful learning opportunities when we make a mistake. Let’s not throw out that business practice.

 2. An employee’s right to be quiet during the day…without feeling compelled to chat or engage with everyone.  Some days we just don’t want to talk, and it’s okay to chill.

3.  Ability to stretch, flex, and move around. Employees aren’t meant to sit 8 hours straight.  Research proves it's bad for your health.  People need to move around while at work. It’s a sacred principle that saves companies money in healthcare claims.

4. And my all -time favorite: The Golden Rule within the workplace. Let's keep it sacred and don’t try to justify why we aren’t following it. Like the Trillium, the Golden Rule will become extinct if don’t revere it as something valued and precious.

What are some other universal sacred "trilliums” in the workplace that shouldn’t be touched? Share your thoughts here.