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Respect, Power, Family Pride: How Do You Define Success?

Every entrepreneur wants to be successful. That's a given. But when you delve deeper, you'll quickly realize the definition of success can vary widely depending on whom you ask. Is it money, power, respect or fame? Or, maybe you define success as simple as the look on your loved one's face when you know you've made him or her proud? We wanted to know what did it for you. 

And when we posed the question to our Facebook fans today, the response to our informal, completely nonscientific poll was swift and vocal. By more than a two-to-one margin, respect trumped power and money as the definition of success.

Of the more than 600 people who have cast their votes as of this writing, nearly 52 percent say their idea of success is "being respected in business." Another 22 percent say "being powerful in business" signals success, which is not entirely surprising since it might be only natural for entrepreneurs to crave control. Tied for the third spot, about 12 percent cite "becoming a millionaire" and "making my family proud" as their signal for success.

But, of course, there's more. Among the dozens of comments that poured in, many dismissed the options and filled in their own definitions. The comments ranged from happiness and helping others to building something great to feel successful. But mainly entrepreneurs touted freedom as an indicator that they had made it.

"Success defined for me is having a successful business that allows me the time and means to experience life and enjoy the short time I have on this planet," wrote Patrick O'Heaney, "and spend time with people who are important to me. Life is far too short to spend it always working...leave that to the ants."

Another freedom-loving fan, Andy Sokolovisch, seemed to sum up success in the most visual way: "Being able to pay my mortgage while staying in my pajamas."

How do you define success? Leave a comment and let us know. 

Teri Evans is deputy editor of Entrepreneur.com.
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