I always talk about growth as a photographer, and this really goes with everything in life.
A good way to grow and learn is to go on Photowalks with local photography groups. This is a valuable experience where you can meet others, learn new tricks, see how they examine a scene, and walk away with new colleagues, new ideas, and lots of great photographs.
From the First Out of Chicago Photowalk in early February.
The easiest way to find these photowalks and groups is social networking sights like Flickr, facebook, google+, etc. Keep active in them and you can find some great advice. Heck once in awhile you will even find some photographers selling gear and they will give a member of the group a good deal 😉 So keep your eyes out for walks in your area and don’t be afraid to get involved and get out there.
The worst thing that will happen is you will take a bad photograph!!